The KC Royals entered this strange season with a chance to make the playoffs. Two losing streaks got in the way.
In any other year, the 2020 KC Royals wouldn’t be considered probable playoff contenders. Other than some low-risk free agent signings that satisfied their apparent annual need to salvage struggling pitchers, and a deal designed to bolster third base defense, the Royals did little in the offseason to improve a 2019 team limping away from its second consecutive 100-loss campaign.
But this has been no typical major league season. Unless the current pandemic thrusts its ugly self into the 2021 campaign, 2020 will remain a season unparalleled for its uniqueness. Interrupted by COVID-19 for almost four more months, this short 60-game venture into empty stadiums, bigger rosters, player pools and protective measures, gave everyone shots at October baseball. Expanded playoff eligibility bolstered those chances.
“A season in which anything can happen” quickly evolved from cliché to fact. The Miami Marlins, losers of 105 games last season, clinched a playoff berth Friday night; so did the Reds. The Padres finished last in the National League West in 2019 but will play this October. San Francisco remains in the race. Defending World Series champion Washington won’t make it.
The KC Royals, however, squandered their chances. Two prolonged streaks of bad baseball relegated them to non-contender status and assured them of watching the playoffs from home.
An inconsistent offense, the most glaring of the club’s 2020 flaws and the one most in need of offseason repair, drove a pair of losing skids that assured Kansas City would miss the postseason once again. The Royals averaged far less than three runs per game in both spans, the first a six-game losing streak, the second a seven-game dive.
By the time the second streak ended, the Royals were done.
The path they took to get nowhere was rough.