Mar 11, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante (14) during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Last season, the Kansas City Royals averaged 3.98 runs per game, not exactly a mark that would have someone confuse their offense with the 1927 New York Yankees. Yet, that four run mark was seemingly magic for the Royals. In those games when the Royals managed to score over four runs, they managed to post a record of 61-13, playing ball at a clip that was 48 games above .500.
Thus far, in 2014, the four run threshold may once again be key for the Royals. After yesterday’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, the Royals are 0-3 when scoring fewer than four runs, but are 2-0 when the offense kicks into gear. It may be that getting those four runs may once again be key to the Royals success.
If the first week is any indication, it may be easier for the Royals to reach that magic number this season. Last year, the Royals ranked ninth in on base percentage, getting on base at a .315 clip. Right now, after five games, the Royals rank sixth in the American League with a .336 OBP, even with Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar remaining hitless on the year.
The problem has not been a matter of getting runners on base, but bringing them home. After yesterday’s game, the Royals have a .214 batting average with runners in scoring position, having gone 9-42 in the early going. Norichika Aoki and Omar Infante have done exactly what they were brought in to do – get on base. Considering that the Royals have seemingly been getting hits in virtually every other situation this year, it just seems inevitable that the offense will score more runs this season.
Once again in 2014, the key for the Royals may be to get to four runs. However, unlike last year, it may be easier for the Royals to reach that magical number.