Kansas City Royals: Fourth Postseason Picture Update

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 26: Eric Hosmer
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 26: Eric Hosmer /
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CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 27: Starting pitcher Eric Skoglund
CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 27: Starting pitcher Eric Skoglund /

Right on the Cusp

Kansas City Royals

Overall record (through Sunday): 64-65

Last week: 2-4

This week: Vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; at Minnesota Twins (Fri.-Sun.)

Things were going swimmingly for the Kansas City Royals through the first half of last week. The team looked set to sweep Colorado and carry a four-game winning streak into Cleveland. Then Mike Minor allowed a two-run homer in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game that gave the Rockies a 3-2 win.

It all went downhill after that. The offense scored zero runs. I repeat, the offense scored ZERO runs the entire Cleveland series. When you add in scoreless frames from Thursday, the Kansas City Royals enter Monday having not scored in 35 consecutive innings.

And yet, the team has been given every opportunity by those teams above them in the standings to remain in the race. It’s still stunning to think this team, which has a 9-16 record in August, is still just 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot.

Baltimore Orioles

Overall record (through Sunday): 65-65

Last week: 5-1

This week: Vs. Seattle Mariners (Mon.-Wed.); vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Thu.-Sun.)

The risers of the week in the Wild Card race were the Orioles. Their sparkling run might not end this week either with a hot-and-cold Seattle and fading Toronto visiting Camden Yards.

Baltimore opened the week with a pedestrian series win against Oakland, taking two out of three from the Athletics. The Orioles, though, re-announced themselves as legitimate Wild Card contenders with an impressive three-game sweep of the Red Sox over the weekend.

The series was a thorough domination with Baltimore outscoring its East Division rival by a 25-4 margin. With their next 10 games at home, the Orioles could very well climb above the Twins in the not-so-distant future or at least jump the Angels and Mariners, whom they sit just a half-game behind.

Seattle Mariners

Overall record (through Sunday): 66-65

Last week: 3-3

This week: At Baltimore Orioles (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; vs. Oakland Athletics (Fri.-Sun.)

The Mariners are currently treading water. (Pun not really intended but acknowledged.) With a starting rotation in a constant state of flux, Seattle has been impressive just to hang near the top of the Wild Card pecking order.

Weeks such as this past one—where the team finished 3-3—are becoming the norm. As bad as many of the teams chasing the Wild Card places have been, a .500 record is probably not going to yield a playoff spot.

Each week remains crucial for a Seattle team that doesn’t seem likely to put a long string of wins together. This week should be a good test with three games against a resurgent Orioles bunch and a trio of contests against an A’s squad that just swept the Rangers.

Los Angeles Angels

Overall record (through Sunday): 66-65

Last week: 2-5

This week: Vs. Oakland Athletics (Mon.-Wed.); off Thursday; at Texas Rangers (Fri.-Sun.)

It had seemed too good to be true. After a recent hot streak, the Angels fell back down to earth. (I got a million of them.) It took an incredible comeback on Saturday just to give the team a two-win week.

In the midst of a long divisional stretch, Los Angeles will expect to rebound over the next seven days. However, given the team’s performances from the past week, that is anything but a guarantee.

Despite being just 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card place, the Angels are seemingly at a crossroads as September looms. With little minor league help available, Los Angeles could really start to lose ground once rosters expand—relegating Mike Trout to another season without playoff baseball.