Royals National League Style may be an Advantage
By David Hill
Typically, interleague play creates a problem for the American League. American League teams struggle to produce the same type of offense without the designated hitter in National League parks, while the National League gets to use their best bat off the bench as the designated hitter in American League ballparks. In these instances, pitching and defense can truly make a major difference. Fortunately, that plays directly into what the Royals do best.
The Royals may be an American League team, but they certainly do not have a traditional American League lineup. Instead of building their team with power, Dayton Moore designed a team that would play to the dimensions of Kauffman Stadium. The Royals put the ball in play, steal bases and sacrifice more than any other team in the American League. In fact, it is fair to say that the Royals play National League baseball, only with a designated hitter.
Yet, that style has worked. Using their stellar defense and lights out relief pitching, the Royals have managed to sweep their way through the playoffs, sending the Los Angeles Angels, owners of the best record in baseball, and the Baltimore Orioles, the team that hit the most home runs, to the sidelines.
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This National League style of offense has worked quite well in interleague play as well this season. Overall, the Royals were 15-5 against the national League, outscoring the opposition by 43 runs. That excellent record even extends to their potential opponents in the World Series, as the Royals swept their three games against the San Francisco Giants while going 3-1 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Another excellent sign for the Royals going forward has to be who they defeated in those games. In sweeping the Giants, the Royals faced Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum. While Lincecum is not the same pitcher he was three or four years ago, he still shows flashes of that former brilliance. The Royals also managed to defeat Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha of the Cardinals, two more solid starting pitchers.
The Kansas City Royals offense, a throwback to the Glory Days of the 1980’s, is perfectly suited to the National League style of playing. The track team of Alcides Escobar, Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore will be able to wreak havoc on the basepaths while the Royals keep putting the ball in play. In fact, that ability, and the Royals not needing to rely upon the designated hitter, may be an advantage in this series.
The Royals already play National League baseball. Now, in another five days, we’ll see if it will be enough to bring their second World Series Championship to Kansas City.