Royals Offense Still Needs A Spark
The Royals have been winners in six of their last nine games, but their offense is still struggling to pick up steam.
The Royals beat the first-place White Sox 4-1 last night, on the back of five-hit, three-run sixth inning that featured three doubles.
The win brought the Royals back to within 3.5 games of the struggling south siders, but more importantly, featured some offense.
Granted, it was only four runs, but those four runs came off of Jose Quintana, who hadn’t given up three earned runs in any of his previous eight starts. He also hadn’t given up more than seven hits in any of his outings, and he gave up eight to the Royals.
Paulo Orlando headlined the offense, going 3-4 with a double and two RBI. He is now 10 for his last 19 with two doubles and a homer.
Lorenzo Cain also doubled for just the third time this season, along with Omar Infante smacking his 8th double on the season.
Again, we are reaching a bit for encouraging results here, and it’s hard to really blame us.
The Royals entered the night with just two more runs than the hapless Twins, who have scored the least amount of runs in the American League.
The Royals are also near the bottom of the American League in OPS (12th), SLG (12th), OBP (13th), HR (13th), and BB (15th).
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As the starting rotation has began to stabilize after a rough start to May, the Royals have began to win some more baseball games.
However, the offense has remained in limbo.
Alcides Escobar entered last night with a .619 OPS, while neither of his hits in last night’s game left the infield.
Cain hits next and has just eight extra-base hits on the season.
Hosmer is raking, but is followed by Kendrys Morales, who has been the third least valuable player in baseball this season.
You guys get the point.
I’m not trying to be a Debby Downer, as much as I am pointing out a fairly legitimate problem.
It’s easy to point at the starting pitching, and they have certainly not given us any reason not to point the finger at them.
However, if you will remember with me, the list of reliable Royals starting pitchers at this point last season went as follows:
"1. Edinson Volquez"
What separated that team from this team was the offense, who finished 2015 with the 7th best OPS in the AL, while scoring the 6th most runs, and striking out fewer times than any other team in baseball, by a lot.
This season has been different, with the slow starts from Kendrys Morales, Lorenzo Cain, and Alex Gordon.
However, the Royals have played just 25% of their games in 2016 and despite the underwhelming performance from the offense, sit at 21-20 and just 3.5 games back of the White Sox for first place in the AL Central.
To be completely honest, nearly every aspect of the Royals 2015 squad has regressed into 2016. Excluding the bullpen, the offense, starting rotation, and defense just hasn’t been the same.
Part of that is because Mike Moustakas, Chris Young, and Kris Medlen played hurt until landing on the DL. Another part of that is certainly some form of World Series hangover.
Next: Paulo Orlando Smashes Past White Sox In 4-1 Win
But, the Royals are hanging through the slow start, which is really the mark of a good team.
I could be wrong, but the Royals are going to get hot at some point. If they can just stay above water until then, everything is going to be just fine.
But yeah, the offense definitely needs to get moving. Have we at least established that much?