The KC Royals were, to be painfully but accurately blunt, awful in May. They entered the month in fourth place in the American League Central and left it in last, a testament to the sad truth that the 16-32 record with which they crawled away from May made them major league baseball’s worst team.
Why Kansas City lost 20 of 29 in May is no mystery. The pitching was bad and the hitting, while somewhat better after the club parted ways with hitting coach Terry Bradshaw, wasn’t good enough to overcome the deep holes KC hurlers too often dug.
Barring some Central Division-wide collapse, which isn’t likely to happen, contention no longer qualifies as even a pipe dream for this club. Other than the five regular season games on the schedule, there will be no October baseball in Kansas City; the playoffs will again be something the Royals watch on television.
And June could be rough. Kansas City opened the new month by losing to Cleveland Wednesday and must play 12 games against four legitimate contenders—the Astros, Blue Jays, Giants and Angels—and 13 against Oakland, Texas and Baltimore, all sub-.500 clubs but still better than the Royals.
But can June be better than May? Yes, and here are three reasons to think so.
Salvador Perez should be better at the plate in June for the KC Royals.
It isn’t a stretch to say that as Salvador Perez goes, so go the Royals. He’s the team backbone, its spirit, and a major gauge of its success. When he’s hot, the club is better; when he’s not, it’s not.
Attribute much of the Royals’ moderate improvement last year to Perez’s 48 home runs, 121 RBIs, .273 average and 128 OPS+, the driving numbers behind his team-record fourth Silver Slugger.
But his subpar 2022—he’s slashing .187/.227/.355—helps explain part of Kansas City’s offensive malaise. Yes, a thumb injury forced him to the Injured List May 17, but he was slashing .206/.239/.397 then and is 1-for-19 since returning a week ago.
Will Perez ever break out of his season-long slump? Yes, and it should happen soon—he’s too good not to recover. And when he does, his numbers and the club’s record will be much better in June.