KC Royals Midweek Musings: 20 wins and counting

This week’s KC Royals Midweek Musings asks if the club can win 25 games, identifies former players who might be headed for the playoffs, and discusses other odds and ends.

Some KC Royals Midweek Musings while wondering if new manager Mike Matheny will make any changes to his coaching staff for 2021:

How many wins?  I wondered in last week’s Musings whether the Royals would win 20 games this season. Because Matheny’s club was 15-28 at the time, the question wasn’t out of left field.

Kansas City didn’t take long to answer it. The Royals won their second consecutive game the day that Musings appeared, then won four more in a row to reach the 20-victory mark Sunday. But that streak, the club’s longest of the season, ended with Tuesday night’s 6-0 loss to Detroit.

Now, the question is whether Kansas City, 20-29 with 11 games remaining, can win 25. The Royals close out their short two-game series with Detroit tonight and are off Thursday before opening a three-game set in Milwaukee Friday. They’ll be back home Monday to close the season with three against the Cardinals and four with the Tigers.

Winning five of 11 games against these clubs is certainly possible, but could be tough. Despite their losing records, all three opponents are still in the expanded playoff hunt and have better records than the Royals—the Cards are 21-22 after losing to the 22-25 Brewers Tuesday and the Tigers are 21-26 after beating KC. Against the Royals, the Cards took two of three in St. Louis last month and Detroit has won three of five. The Royals and Brewers haven’t played yet.

Former Royals we may see in October.  Several ex-Royals are playing for teams with realistic playoff prospects. Those currently on contending clubs’ active rosters, with stats through Tuesday:

    Athletics. The American League West Division leaders boast the most former KC Royals, and they’re all pitchers. Reliever Joakim Soria is 2-2 with two saves in 19 games; starter Sean Manaea, a key component of the 2015 trade that brought Ben Zobrist to KC, is 4-3 in 10 starts; Mike Minor is 1-0 after being acquired from Texas at the trade deadline (he was 0-5 with the Rangers); and Liam Hendriks is 3-0 with 12 saves and a 1.33 ERA.

   Cubs: Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress and outfielder Billy Hamilton are with the current NL Central leaders. Jeffress is 4-1 with seven saves and a 1.86 ERA. Hamilton started the season with the Giants, was traded to the Mets, then recently claimed off waivers by Chicago. He has a hit in his only official at-bat.

   White Sox: Outfielder Jarrod Dyson joined the Sox via a trade deadline deal with Pittsburgh and is hitting .333 in eight games.

   Reds: Mike Moustakas is hitting only .214 and has five home runs. Brian Goodwin came to Cincinnati from the Angels in a trade at the deadline and has a .206 average and four steals with the Reds.

   Rockies: Former Kansas City batterymates Wade Davis and Drew Butera are with Colorado. Davis came off the Injured List last week; he’s appeared just three times this season and is 0-1 with a 16.88 ERA and two saves. Butera is fulfilling his familiar role as a backup catcher and is hitting .171.

  Tigers: Jorge Bonifacio has played 26 times for Detroit and has two homers and a .270 average.

  Astros: In his 17th big league season, Zack Greinke is 3-2 in 10 starts. Catcher Martin Maldonado, who helped the KC Royals fill the gap left by Salvador Perez’s injury, is batting .248 with five homers and 21 RBIs as Houston’s regular backstop.

  Marlins: Brad Boxberger appeared in 29 games for the Royals last year; he’s 0-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 18 games for surprising Miami.

  Yankees: Reserve catcher Erik Kratz has a 13-game .296 average with the Yankees.

  Padres. Trevor Rosenthal, the Royals’ closer before they dealt him to San Diego last month, has found the Padres to his liking: he hasn’t given up a run in five appearances and has three saves. Fellow reliever Tim Hill is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 17 games. Wil Myers is slashing .299/.361/.629 with 13 home runs and 35 RBIs.

  Injured.  A handful of former Royals were on their contending teams’ Injured Lists Tuesday, including Eric Hosmer and Matt Strahm (Padres), Jake Odorizzi and Homer Bailey (Twins), and Chris Owings (Rockies).

Overseas update.  Former Royal Nori Aoki hit two home runs in the last week and raised his average to .310 with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, while teammate Alcides Escobar is hitting .284.

Aaron Brooks, another ex-Royal, won his 10th game Monday for the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization League. He’s now 10-4 with a 2.62 ERA and one shutout.

Simulation happenings.  The virtual KC Royals have 12 games left in Baseball-Reference.com’s 2020 season simulation. They’re three losses shy of 100 and, at 53-97, are a half-game ahead of last place Detroit in the AL Central.

Danny Duffy and Jorge Lopez both have eight wins; Ian Kennedy and Scott Barlow have 11 saves apiece.

Adalberto Mondesi has 46 stolen bases. Whit Merrifield leads the team with a .316 average and Jorge Soler has 25 homers and 85 RBIs.

Simulation updates are available around noon each day. The sim utilizes Out of the Park Baseball 21.

That’s all for now. We’ll be back next week with more KC Royals Midweek Musings. Until then, stay safe and healthy.