KC Royals: Don’t Give Up On The Defending Champs Just Yet
By Mike Courson
Offensively, Cheslor Cuthbert and Paulo Orlando continue to lead the way. Cuthbert has 11 hits and three RBIs in his last seven games. Orlando continues to near the qualifying mark for a league batting title, and only Houston’s Jose Altuve has a higher average in the AL this season.
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Success could hinge on a return to form of left fielder Alex Gordon. Gordon’s offensive struggles have been apparent all season. He batted just .195 in the month of July and has dropped below the Mendoza line several times in August. However, even Gordon has warmed of late with a three-game hit streak heading into Saturday. He’s batting .250 in 37 at bats this month and is pulling away from that dreaded .200 average at .204.
Naturally, all of this is a little optimistic. Sure, the Royals are 5-1 over the last six games; but four of those wins have come against Chicago and Minnesota, the two worst teams in the AL Central. Minnesota has the second-worst record in all of baseball. But two of those wins came against a powerful Toronto team, and a pair of great Blue Jay pitchers.
At the end of July, many Royals fans were ready to write off the 2016 season. But the rise of Danny Duffy, the arrival of a certain insect, and a nice run through weaker competition has breathed new life into the franchise. There’s no reason that cannot continue.
The most encouraging part is that the schedule favors a late-season charge by Kansas City. The league has recently loaded the final month of the season with games between division rivals to produce exciting finishes to division races.
Coming up in September, Kansas City has six games with Detroit, six games with Cleveland, six games with Minnesota, and seven games with the White Sox. As a result of this favorable schedule, the KC Royals have every opportunity to make up ground in a big hurry.
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With a solid finish to August and a good run in September, 6.5 games or even 10 games is not too much to overcome. Let’s not give up on these Royals just yet.