Aug 25, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher Greg Holland (56) delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City beat Washington 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
August saw the Royals still trying to gain ground in the A.L. Central, but by the end of the month, the Royals had shifted their goal. The Tigers had amassed what appeared to be an insurmountable lead unless they completely bombed the last month of the season. The Indians, however, tanked during August and allowed the Royals to gain ground and continue to fight for one of the wild card spots.
As a team, the Royals batted .270/.327/.388/.715 and averaged 4.4 runs a game. Their best offensive performance was a 13-0 win over the hated Minnesota Twins on August 5th in which they collected 16 total hits and 4 walks. Eric Hosmer had a home run and a double. Other two-baggers came from Mike Moustakas and George Kottaras. (Miss You, Jorge)
The Royals pitching staff (relievers included) threw 282.2 innings with a 2.96 ERA. This month was both their season-high in innings pitched and season-low in ERA. They averaged 7.6 SO/game and 2.97 BB/game. Their “best” performance as a staff took place during that same August 5th matchup. Jeremy Guthrie pitched a 4-hit shutout against the Twins, garnering 7 strikeouts and one walk. Another game to note is the 3-0 win against the Tigers on August 16th. James Shields got the win and allowed only 3 hits despite walking 4 and only striking out 1 batter. It was a weird game.
The Royals were 16-15 in August and ended the month 10.5 games back of Detroit. They had begun to close the gap between themselves and Cleveland, however, and were still not completely out of the running for the playoffs. They were giving Royals fans meaningful baseball in September for the first time in many years.
Offensive MVP: Billy Butler
Billy had a solid month with a slash line of .325/.403/.491/.894 with 4 doubles and 5 home runs. He also grounded into 11 double plays which was significantly more than any other month of the season. Unfortunately, this was probably the stat people were using when they tried/try to convince everyone that Butler is a bad player. If you look at everything else he did that month, you can see why this is a stupid argument to make.
Pitching MVPs: James Shields (starter) and Greg Holland (reliever)
James had an ERA of 3.35 with 28 strikeouts, 18 walks and an opposing batter slash of .242/.200/.383/.716 in 40.1 innings of work. He went 4-1 in his 6 starts.
Dirty South pitched 11 innings in the month of August and had an opposing batter slash line of .139/.184/.139/.323 with 18 strikeouts and 2 walks. He had a delicious ERA of 0.00 and a nice beard as well.
“I’m going to be watching baseball that matters in September?” I remember thinking this to myself over and over as the month approached. I really wanted the team to make the playoffs and wouldn’t be satisfied unless they did, but the fact that I could keep watching meaningful baseball during the last month of the season was still nice.