Major League Baseball, an otherwise mathematically precise enterprise, traditionally marks the half-way point of its season not by dividing the 162-game schedule by two, but instead by reference to the All-Star Game—the campaign’s first half is everything before, and the second half everything after, the ASG. So, with the Midsummer Classic over, the KC Royals open second half play tonight against Tampa Bay at Kauffman Stadium.
Unfortunately, they begin the final half of the 2022 season in an unenviable position. Defeated in 56 of 92 tries, the Royals are on pace to lose almost 99 games, a result not hoped for or expected when spring training began belatedly four months ago.
The club needs to improve drastically, but that probably requires change. Calls for the dismissal of pitching coach Cal Eldred and, to a lesser extent, manager Mike Matheny, continue. But despite the mid-May discharge of hitting coach Terry Bradshaw, the front office doesn’t seem inclined to let anyone else go this season.
So, with staff changes likely off the board for now, what must the club do in the second half?
Here are three suggestions.
The KC Royals need to avoid finishing last in the American League Central.
Not surprisingly, their 20 games below .500 record gives the Royals sole ownership of the AL Central cellar, trailing even near-hapless Detroit.
Fortunately, though, the Tigers are well within striking distance. They lead Kansas City by a game, so overtaking and passing them won’t require much heavy lifting.
Reaching third place is a different story. The Royals trail the White Sox, who are suddenly playing more like the defending Central champs they are instead of also-rans, by 10 games. KC has little, if any, chance to finish in third.
Fourth will have to do for this club. Last place must be avoided.