Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Kansas City Royals for Real This Season?

The Royals on a tear.  They have won 13 out of 17 and are enjoying an 8 game winning streak.  Yes, the baseball season is long. Yes, the Royals, like most teams, are prone to streaks.  So this begs the question.  Is this for real?

I think it is, and here is why.

The Royals were able to survive April and May, despite historic ineptitude at the plate.  They survived because a solid rotation settled into a great one, they continued to play some of the best defense in the league, and the one-two, bull-pen punch of Davis and Holland became devastating.

Since Dale Sveum took over as hitting coach, the Royals have done most of their damage against other teams starters.  In fact, every one of those 13 wins were losses to starters with a combined record of 79-64 and a 3.78 ERA.  Not too shabby.   At some point, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon were going to perform closer to their past levels.  That time is now.

These wins have not been off of fluke heroics.  This streak has been delivered by the guys in the lineup counted on to produce.  Yes, guys like Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain are playing better than expected, but it’s not illogical to expect both of them to continue their maturity as big league hitters.  Heck, if Omar Infante and Nori Aoki start to play up to previous performance, this line up will be even steadier.  We can’t expect an extended role like the one they currently are on, but we can expect a much more solid attack producing over 4 runs a game.

This is also for real because the problems facing the Tigers are very real.  Everyone knew the Tigers were top-heavy, but not many expected them to be so hobbled.  They still don’t play good defense.  I would take the Royals starting staff over Detroit’s at this point.  No way  thought I would type those words this year.  Justin Verlander is no longer Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez is a DL stint waiting to happen.

The Indians are making last year’s success look short-lived.  Their starting pitching has regressed, they don’t catch the ball, and their strike rate is too high.  The White Sox are who we thought they were.  A losing baseball team.  Having good seats for last weekend’s games showed me how poor their routes are to fly balls and line drives.  They also strike out way too much.  Robin Ventura makes Ned Yost look like Joe Maddon.

Back handed compliments shelved, let’s give some credit to Yost.  He’s a great relationship guy and his friend, Dale Sveum, has brought a  less complicated message to the Royals hitters.  It seems to be working.  The usually stubborn Royals, quickly moved Pedro out of his role and had the right guy waiting in the wings.  Baseball has been changing.  While slugging is a critical part of the game, defense and pitching is more important than ever.  The Royals have invested in their arms and gloves.  They deserve some credit.

I have lambasted Mike Moustakas for his immaturity, but am liking what I’m seeing.  After botching a sure-fire double play ball against the White Sox, he bounced back. He made 2 excellent plays later in the game, and blasted a no doubter into the right field bleachers.  After taking a grounder off his dome last night, he joked about watching too much of the World Cup.  You gotta like that humility.

The Royals are coming together as the rest of the AL Central is unraveling.  Yes, this is for real.


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Tags: Dale Sveum Kansas City Royals

  • jimfetterolf

    That’s a good piece of writing.

  • Oakland A’s Socks Girl

    I agree well written and sure they can take the central but can they beat the A’s (& yes I know all about Pomeranz being a moron but at least it wasnt his pitching hand & Donaldsons in a small slump but it wont last long)??? :-)

    • catfishjohn

      If they continue to play the way they are playing, they can beat anyone.

  • moretrouble

    The blogger and comment world, thankfully, has stopped calling for Yost and Moore to be fired. Those folks will be back as soon as KC drops a game … it’s inevitable. KC is such a football town that people feel coaches are the difference between winning and losing … as though a baseball manager can institute a 4-3 defense, start blitzing and everything will be fine. .

    • Ed Connealy

      How’s the weather from that high ground?
      It’s not just bloggers and football fans that think managers and g-managers impact a baseball team. Moore has much much more tenure than the majority of his peers and w/ out any of their success. Those are facts, so unless you think all of the other owners of MLB teams are just bloggers or closet football guys your reasoning is 100% wrong. I gotta tell ya…the weather is nice up here!

      I wrote that this June’s play should dictate what is done with Moore and Yost and stand by that. It’s coming together, so no way you make a change

      • moretrouble

        The weather from the “high ground,” Ed, is always nice during baseball season. The only thing that saddens me is to look at a baseball field mid-winter; it’s lonely, stark and depressing. It’s not the winning and losing that’s important to me, Ed … it’s the game itself.

        I’m not unhappy when “my” team loses … I don’t have a team … I like them all equally. It’s the beauty and grace of the game that I love … not the winning of losing of games. Fans who need winning to be happy will NEVER be happy.

        I think you’ll recognize that “high ground” when you get there, Ed. From the looks of you, it’s going to take you awhile to get there, LOL. Best wishes …

    • Ed Connealy

      It’s ok to hold 2 contrasting thoughts and opinions at the same time. I can appreciate the good things Moore and Yost are doing and root hard for them to succeed…all while thinking there are other guys out there who could do an even better job. We can celebrate Moore’s ability to spot free agent pitchers that fit perfect for KC, but demand better from his drafting and development.

    • Ryan Caltrider

      I still don’t think Yost is the manager to take a team into the playoffs and win. Obviously you can’t fire him at this point with the team playing like this. However, that does not change my feeling that Yost is good for a young team needing coddling and encouragement, but when it’s time to win you need someone that holds people a little more accountable and plays matchups better.

      As for Moore, again, you can’t fire him at this point. But we will see how things play out. I still think his roster construction leaves much to be desired. Carrying 13 pitchers is idiotic. If Aoki is going to be out for a couple of days he definitely needs to drop down to 12 pitchers (he should anyway) and bring up another position player. Also, let’s see what he’s able to pull of at the trade deadline if this team is in the position to be buyers. I’m willing to give him the rest of this season to see how things play out and re-evaluate at that point.

      Hopefully this team can keep playing well and I’ll enjoy it while it lasts (hopefully all the way through October).

  • Geogman

    I have been as critical of Yost as anyone. I still believe his decision to fire Seitzer set this team’s development back despite what Fetterolf and moretrouble say. Six hitting coaches in less than two years is simply unacceptable for a major league organization. That said I have never been as critical of Moore as some. His trades starting with Greinke generally have been good(even the Shields trade may turn out) and drafting a baseball player is always a crapshoot. In the end however, it does come down to the players and something seems to have woken them up. Perhaps it was the Grifol demotion. I suspect had it been Yost instead, the results would be the same. It looks like they’ve taken the diapers off.

  • jimfetterolf

    For those who want to fire Moore and Yost, looks like there’ll be some geniuses available this winter. Reading other team’s blogs and comments, Tampa needs to clean house, as does Boston and the Orioles. Diamondbacks are at the top of the list and Detroit fans are howling at the results of a $160m payroll and thinking that maybe they were wrong last year when they thought Jim Leyland was an idiot.