Kansas City Royals: Five Keys to Winning Rays Series

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Whit Merrifield
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Whit Merrifield /
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KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 22: Melky Cabrera
KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 22: Melky Cabrera /

No. 2 Score Some Runs

Any amount will do. The Kansas City Royals just need to put something up on the board besides hits, which to be fair the team did a decent enough job of in Cleveland.

The problem for the Royals has been getting the big hit when needed. The reasons are three-fold:

  1. An increased over-reliance on the home run
  2. A lack of manufactured runs
  3. Too many double-plays

The Kansas City Royals used to be the anti-hero baseball needed. In a sport that increasingly moved towards three true outcomes—home runs, walks and strikeouts—the Royals were the exception to the rule.

They turned their contact-approach into two trips to the World Series. They singled teams to death along the way. Then they turned into those teams by falling into the three true outcomes trap, which for them doesn’t even include that many walks.

The reliance on the long ball has hurt the Kansas City Royals when it comes to just finding a way to scratch a run across. The days of turning a leadoff double into an automatic run with a grounder to the right side and a sacrifice fly are virtually over.

Without the ability to move runners, the Royals have started grounding into double-plays at an alarming rate. A graphic on Saturday night’s FSKC broadcast showed the team had grounded into 120—second only to Toronto. According to TeamRankings, the Kansas City Royals have seen an increase in double-plays grounded into from 0.83 to 0.94 compared to 2016.

The team needs to get back to what worked for it in 2014 and 2015: Get ’em on, get ’em over and get ’em in.