KC Royals: Kendrys Morales, The Sleeping Giant Has Awakened
By Mike Courson
KC Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales wallowed for the first two months of the season to the point where many fans were calling to get rid of him. Don’t look now, but an outrageous June has lifted his triple slash to .262/.324/.437 with 13 doubles and 11 home runs.
"“I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant.”"
The quote is usually attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. It may as well be attributed to American League managers and pitchers these days. Kendrys Morales is awake.
It’s official: no one in the game of baseball is hotter than Morales. Prior to the Kansas City Royals win against St. Louis on Thursday, Morales was merely one of the hottest hitters in the game. With another three hits, including a home run, Thursday night, Morales is now batting .593 over his last seven games. That’s an astounding 16-for-27 with three home runs, three doubles, and seven RBIs.
We were counting on this day to come. After all, Morales was an integral part of the world championship roster, batting .290 and driving in 106 runs last year – the eighth-most in the bigs.
More from KC Royals News
- Grading the 2022 KC Royals: The $25 million man
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Expectations met
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 3 update
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 2 update
- Winter Meetings: Any blockbusters for the KC Royals?
Before Morales warmed up, 2016 was looking like a bust for the Silver Slugger. He batted just .226 in the month of April for the KC Royals, and bumped up to a meager .245 in the month of May. June was the turning point, at least we hope. In 24 games, Morales batted .402 with five home runs with a team-high seven doubles and a team-high 18 RBIs.
Those June numbers are a little skewed because of the final week of the month. Morales looked to be heating up with six hits in two games against Detroit on June 17 and 18. After getting just one hit in his next eight at bats, that was looking more and more like a flare up.
Since then, Morales has been gangster at the plate. He had two hits in each of the final two games against Houston. His final two hits in that series was a pair of home runs. He went 4-for-4 the next night with a double, then added two hits in the home finale against St. Louis. On the road against the Cardinals, Morales finished up the series 6-for-8, putting the exclamation point on Thursday’s win with a pair of doubles and a homer.
June has been a topsy-turvy month for the Royals. After a win against Tampa Bay to start the month, Kansas City lost eight-straight games. Four of those games were against AL Central-leading Cleveland. The Royals won their next five games, including three against Cleveland. After four-straight losses to the Mets and Astros, The Kansas City Royals ended June with a 4-1 stretch that included three wins against St. Louis.
Heading into Friday’s game in Philadelphia, the KC Royals were just six games back of a red-hot Cleveland team that won its 13th-straight game Thursday night. The Indians went 22-6 in the month of June, with three of those losses coming against the Kansas City Royals.
KC Royals skipper Ned Yost appears to have a dilemma on his hands now, albeit a good one: does an able Morales stay in right field, or does he move back to the DH? With 182 at bats, Paulo Orlando ranks ninth in the majors with a .335 average. Surely Yost cannot afford to sit Orlando out entirely.
Nearing the midway point of the season, all possibilities are still on the table. Cleveland could tumble like the White Sox did early on. Morales could stay blistering hot. Kansas City Royals pitching could stop giving up home runs
Next: 5 Things About Mini-Sweep In St. Louis
A few of those things will likely have to happen for the KC Royals to win another division title. That’s the fun of baseball; with 84 games to go, six games back in June means next to nothing in the bigger picture.