The KC Royals split a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins despite scoring nine runs in four games. They won 3-2 on Sunday even though the Twins limited Kansas City hitters to four hits. The Kansas City Royals ability to scratch out wins, even when mired in a hitting slump, remind all of major-league baseball why they are a threat to win the 2015 World Series.
The KC Royals are simply a team built to win tight ballgames.
On Friday, the KC Royals won 3-2 in the 10th inning when Lorenzo Cain beat Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki‘s tag on a slide into home plate on Jarrod Dyson‘s infield chopper. It was Kansas City’s first walkoff win of the season.
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Along with their ability to win with speed on the base paths, the Kansas City Royals sport the best defense in the league. The KC Royals rank first in: Fangraphs.com’s DEF rating system, Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), and in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS).
Pretty much any way you slice the defensive metrics, the Kansas City Royals are the best.
Then we come to the KC Royals bullpen. The back end of Kansas City’s pen earned a shut down reputation in the 2014 playoffs. Known as the HDH trio, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland continue to dominate games for the Royals.
Except, this season, the KC Royals have added more quality arms in Ryan Madson (1.65 ERA), Jason Frasor (1.54 ERA), and Franklin Morales (2.70 ERA). This is a shut-down group that leads the major leagues in bullpen ERA at 2.03.
Add up a dominant bullpen, the best defense in the league, and an offense capable of scratching out runs, and you get a team that will—once again—be a monster in post-season play. Bullpens become more important in the playoffs, because managers can use them more frequently due to the built-in off days for travel.
I also believe that the Kansas City Royals ability to put the ball in play helps them against the kind of dominant pitching you see in the playoffs. KC Royals hitters whiff less often than any team in baseball with a strikeout rate (K%) of 16%.
In an era where the top starters are prized for missing bats, simply being able to make contact gives you a chance.
I’m not the only one that thinks the Royals are a World Series threat. The KC Royals are now a 15/4 favorite to win the 2015 World Series on sports betting site Bovada
The Kansas City Royals Achilles Heel, however, remains their starting pitching. Yordano Ventura, currently on the disabled list, has not emerged as the staff ace as the team had hoped during the off-season. His 4.68 ERA doesn’t make him like a guy that can carry a team through the playoffs.
To really make sure, I’d like for the Royals to cut a one-stop shop deal with Oakland for Kazmir and utility man Ben Zobrist.
Either way, a starting pitcher with the ability to play play Madison Bumgarner in October might be the final piece the Kansas City Royals need for a World Series title.