KC Royals and the race to catch Cleveland in the Central
The KC Royals have been one of the hottest teams in the American League lately. Winners in 16 of their last 25 games, Kansas City has put themselves right back into the race for the AL Central.
However, the KC Royals are still 3.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians, sitting in third place in the division.
Cleveland has been on a bit of a hot streak themselves lately, winning 9 of their last 13 games, but the schedule doesn’t get any lighter for them in the coming weeks.
The Indians are in the middle of a stretch in which they will play 22 games in only 20 days, and 31 games in 31 days before the All-Star Break. Stretches like that can really wear on a pitching staff, and on a team as a whole, and may open up a window for the Royals to catch the Indians before the All-Star Game on July 11.
The importance of this potential window can not be understated for the KC Royals.
I wrote earlier this month about a stretch in July in which the Royals have a wonderful opportunity to go on a run, you can read about that here. In order for that run to matter, the Royals need to get themselves in a position to catch or surpass Cleveland.
The KC Royals only have 16 games on the schedule in the next 20 days before the All-Star Break. Nine of those games are against teams that are currently below .500, four are home for Minnesota (games they really need to win), and three in Los Angeles against the Dodgers (just find a way to win one of those).
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The MLB Trade Deadline is looming in the horizon’s for Dayton Moore and the KC Royals braintrust. GMDM will be forced to make a decision before then that will dictate the direction of this organization for the foreseeable future.
If Baltimore can pull of a win tomorrow night at home against Cleveland, Kansas City will find itself three games back of the reigning AL Champs going into their final 16 game stretch before the ASB. If the Royals can win 10-11 of those 16 games, they will surely find themselves in a really good position to make one last run at a playoff shot in 2017.
Time is of the essence for the 2017 KC Royals, and they appear to be heating up at just the right time.
The Royals play host to the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend at Kauffman Stadium. Your pitching matchups for this weekend:
Friday at 7:15- Jake Junis (2-1, 5.56) vs. J.A. Happ (2-4. 4.26)
Saturday at 1:15- Jason Vargas (10-3, 2.27) vs. Marco Estrada (4-5, 4.98)
Sunday at 1:15- Jason Hammel (4-6, 4.83) vs. Francisco Liriano (3-3, 5.76)
Ed. note: an earlier version of this story had the KC Royals in second place in the division. It has been updated to reflect their current standing.