Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Seemingly every game, Alex Gordon or Alcides Escobar come up with a play that almost no one else in baseball would be able to make. The Royals defensive prowess is such that, even though they lost a Gold Glove first baseman in Eric Hosmer, they have no missed a beat. Billy Butler has filled in quite well, as the Royals have continued to be one of the better defensive teams in baseball.
Even though the Tigers are only two percentage points behind the Royals in fielding percentage, coming in at .983 compared to Kansas City’s .985, the Royals are truly light years ahead of Detroit on defense. For the season, according to FanGraphs.com, the Royals defense has saved 42.9 runs. Meanwhile, the Tigers difficulties on defense have led to them giving up 28.3 additional runs than a normal defense would have.
Despite the Royals recent power surge, they are not the type of team that will be able to consistently win by piling on the runs. They need to play a more defensive oriented game, relying upon their pitching and timely hitting to get a ‘W.’ Having a strong defense plays an important factor in why the Royals have been able to win this season.
The Tigers defensive weakness has been thought to be a possible Achilles Heel for the past few years. Now, with the injuries to their pitching staff, those problems defensively may loom even larger, especially compared to the Royals.