1. Favorable Schedule
The biggest reason I see the Kansas City Royals making the 2016 playoffs is a favorable finishing schedule.
Of their final 31 games, the KC Royals play 17 games against the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Oakland A’s. Cleveland plays the White Sox and Twins 12 more times, but don’t have any more games against teams with a losing record. Meanwhile, the Tigers play 15 games against teams with a losing record and 12 against the Twins and White Sox.
The Royals also have ample opportunity to make up the 5.5 games they trail the Indians and the 1.0 game they need to make up on the Tigers. Kansas City has six remaining games with both teams, with one home and one away series against both rivals. The Kansas City Royals also finish the season with a three-game set against current AL Central leader Cleveland at Kauffman Stadium.
That’s not all the Scheduling Gods have gifted to our KC Royals. Nineteen of their final 31 games are at Kauffman Stadium where the Royals have gone 41-21. The Tigers play 16 of their final 31 at home and the Indians get 18 of their final 32 at Jacobs Field. But remember that the Indians play 20 games against winning teams down the stretch.
Another nice bonus for Kansas City is that the Orioles, who currently hold the second AL wild card position by a mere 2.0 games over the Royals, play 21 winning teams in their last 31 games.
Throw in the fact that the AL East wild card contenders Blue Jays, Yankees, Orioles, and Red Sox will spend the next month beating up each other due to the unbalanced schedules, and the KC Royals are well positioned to emerge from September with a post-season bid.
So, what do you guys think? Am I a fanboy, or do I have good reasons to believe in the Kansas City Royals? You can tell me your opinion in comments below or vote in my Twitter poll: