September. The last stretch of the regular season. The Royals began the month 5.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card spot. A little ironic considering the trade that was made before the season started, but we won’t beat a dead horse in this post.
As a team, the Royals batted .262/.313/.383/.696 and averaged 3.8 runs a game. Their best offensive performance was a 7-1 win against the Cleveland Indians on September 16th in which they collected 15 total hits and 2 walks. Both Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez had triples. One makes sense. The other doesn’t.
The Royals pitching staff (relievers included) threw 245 innings with a 3.31 ERA. They averaged 7.8 SO/game and 3.5 BB/game. Their “best” performance as a staff took place during their September 1st match-up against the Toronto Blue Jays. James Shields pitched seven scoreless innings giving up only three hits, striking out nine, and walking one. Luke Hochevar and Greg Holland each provided a scoreless inning of relief.
The Royals were 17-10 in September. They were in it right up until the last few weeks of the season but ultimately fell short. They ended the season with an 86-76 record, good enough for 3rd place in the American League Centra.l
Sal smashed the ball at a clip of .352/.371/.560/.932 in the month of September with 5 doubles and 4 home runs. This was further proof that Salvador Perez was and is the foundation for our team.
Pitching MVPs: James Shields (starter) and Luke Hochevar (reliever)
James had an ERA of 3.18 with 44 strikeouts, 8 walks and an opposing batter slash of .242/.284/.353/.637 in 39.2 innings of work. He went 4-1 in his 6 starts.
Luke pitched 12.1 innings in September and had an opposing batter slash line of .167/.186/.405/.591 with 21 strikeouts and 1 walk.
A bittersweet ending to the season. The Royals finished 10 games over .500 but still found themselves on the outside looking in when it came time for the playoffs. One could only hope that the team was able to push forward and play some baseball in October in James Shields’ last season with the Royals before free agency.