The KC Royals may still be a few games out of postseason contention, but they aren’t ready to give up on this season just yet.
The KC Royals are doing what they do best, making things interesting at the end of the season while their chances for the postseason are very low. There is still a slight chance that everything could work in their favor and they could somehow slip through the cracks into a wild card slot, but the odds of that happening are not high.
They are currently sitting at 5th in the AL Central and are 6.5 games behind in the wild card race, not a position that screams postseason with only a few weeks of the season left.
Still, the Royals don’t seem to be giving up on the season just yet. The Royals are not a team known for tanking, and if there are games to be won, they are likely going to do everything they can to come out on top.
After a 7-game losing streak, the Royals have now found themselves in the middle of a 6-game winning streak. They took 3 out of 4 against the Cleveland Indians and managed a sweep of the Pitsburg Pirates over the weekend to bring their record to 20-28, a .417 winning percentage.
While the Pirates own the worst record in baseball, 14-30, the weekend sweep still provides the Royals with some good confidence and has helped them push their record back to a better spot.
The Royals broke out in the first inning, scoring 4, then followed up with a 6 run third inning, and a home run from Hunter Dozier in the sixth to put them up 11-0. Neither team scored another run, but the game still ended with some excitement.
Brad Keller, a Royal’s mainstay, worked an outstanding game and put together his first complete game of the season, and first shutout of his career. He also got some help on a great catch from outfielder Edward Olivares.
Across his 9 innings, Keller threw 111 pitches (73 strikes), struck out 2, walked 1, and only allowed 5 hits. For the season, Keller has now thrown 43.2 innings, held his ERA at 2.06, holds an FIP of 3.12, has allowed very few extra-base hits and no home runs, and has started to see his walks fall, currently sitting at 2.9 walks per 9.
Keller, who many forget is still young at 25 years old, is quickly becoming the ace style pitchers the Royals need. While it was never sure whether he would become that front of the rotation piece, his 2020 season has shown that he still has room to grow and won’t be giving up any time soon.
As Jeffrey Flanagan wrote, even the Pirates manager had good things to say about Keller.
"“When you throw nine innings and 111 pitches with two punchouts, he’s getting a lot of contact,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton, formerly bench coach for the Twins. “He’s pitched well all year. He continues to fill up the zone. He gets contact and keeps guys sharp. He’s going, he’s rapid and he’s pitching really well. You can see, having seen him last year in the division, this kid is maturing into a really good pitcher.”"
Keller has had some shaky moments this season, but has shown that he won’t allow that to carry from game to game. He continues to improve and is quickly becoming an even more important piece of the Royals pitching staff and future in Kansas City.
Brad Keller pitched a complete game shut out to secure a sweep of the Pirates on Sunday afternoon. He continues to show how important he is to this team.