Home is where the heart is. For the KC Royals, it’s where the offense is. Coming off another successful home stretch, the Kansas City Royals dropped Tuesday’s game in New York 2-1 in yet another display of poor offense on the road.
It’s been a tale of two Kansas Cities so far this season. Entering Wednesday’s game in New York, the KC Royals had a 25-8 record at home – the best in baseball. Their road record of 13-24 was second worst in the American League.
As the difference in records might suggest, things just go well for the the Kansas City Royals inside the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium. The Kansas City Royals are batting .286 at home, fourth best in the majors. At home, the Royals are top-10 in runs scored (165), hits (320), doubles (64), and RBIs (157). Kansas City’s 220 strikeouts at home are the second-fewest in baseball.
Everything changes on the road. With 37 road games compared to 33 home games, the KC Royals have still put up a respectable 335 hits, fifth most in the majors. But they are struggling where it counts. Their batting average falls 24 points to .262. Fifty-six road doubles ranks No. 20 in the league. Worst of all, 118 runs scored on the road ranks next to last. Only Atlanta is worse with 114 runs, and the Royals are still seven runs back of 28th-place Minnesota.
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Pitching differences are similar. The Kansas City Royals rank No. 7 overall with a 3.47 ERA at home. That number blossoms to 4.42 on the road. By now, everyone knows the “K” is pitcher friendly. KC Royals pitchers have allowed 35 home runs at home – about average. The 55 home runs allowed on the road are the second most in baseball.
Virtually every one of Kansas City’s starters have struggled on the road. Duffy has been the exception with a 1.37 ERA in three road starts prior to Wednesday’s game in New York. The other regulars: Ian Kennedy, Chris Young, Yordano Ventura, and Edinson Volquez each have road ERAs of 5.36 or higher. Kennedy has allowed 15 home runs on the road, and Young is right behind him with 13.
Batting numbers on the road are surprisingly good minus the runs scored. Paulo Orlando and Lorenzo Cain are each batting over .300. Cain has driven in 18 runs in opposing parks, and Eric Hosmer is batting .284 with seven homers and 16 RBIs.
The good news is the 2015 Kansas City Royals weren’t overly great on the road midway through the season last year, either. Through June 22, 2015, the KC Royals were 22-13 at home and 18-14 on the road. By the end of the season, they were 51-30 at home and 44-37 on the road. Though that is not an exceptional number, Texas was the only American League team with more road wins than the Kansas City Royals last year with 45.
Based on last year’s model of success, Kansas City simply must get better in two areas: last season, the KC Royals finished 10th in the league with 348 runs on the road. A road ERA of 3.79 was sixth-best in the league.
Baltimore is the only American League team with road woes similar to Kansas City. As of Tuesday evening, the Orioles maintained a one-game lead in the American League East. The Kansas City Royals entered Wednesday two games back of Cleveland in the AL Central.
Both teams are proving great home records can be enough to offset meager production on the road. That may not be enough down the stretch. The KC Royals are a force to be reckoned with at home. If they can improve even a little on the road, the second half of the season could be another one to remember for Kansas City fans.