The KC Royals, fresh from winning one of their most exciting games of the year, a remarkable 13-12 come from behind victory over Seattle to close out their 2022 home schedule, are enjoying their last day off of the season today before beginning the last road trip of this campaign.
They resume work Tuesday in Detroit, where they’ll play three games before finishing up in Cleveland with six against the recently-crowned American League Central Champion Guardians.
Unfortunately, the Royals are playing out the string. Their playoff aspirations are long gone, not enough time remains for players like Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier to turn around and salvage dismal seasons, and it’s probably too late for manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred to solidify their chances to return next year—those dies are likely cast.
But that doesn’t mean the club’s journey to the finish isn’t worth watching. Good individual marks were within several players’ grasps a couple of weeks ago and, while some have reached those numbers, others are still trying.
Is there more? Yes.
The KC Royals need to avoid finishing last in the American League Central.
Only twice in last 12 seasons preceding this one has Kansas City finished last in the five-team AL Central. But with nine games left, the distance between the Royals and cellar-dwelling Detroit is too close for comfort. Only 2.5 games separate them from the Tigers; so, combined with KC’s six more with Cleveland, and Detroit’s three with Minnesota and four with Seattle, the clubs’ three-game set that begins Tuesday night will determine who ends the season in last place.
The Royals are playing well—they’ve won six of their last eight—but can’t let up if they hope to stay out of the division basement.