The KC Royals ended their long road trip Sunday the same way they started it—swept. Just as the Brewers did in Milwaukee exactly a week before, the White Sox took down the Royals to deprive them of even a single win in the clubs' three-contest series. Only two victories in San Diego prevented the three-city journey from being a total loss.
Going 2-7 dropped the Royals 20 games under .500. At 14-34, count them out of the postseason race they had little chance of ever joining, don't hope too hard for less than 100 losses, and let ideas of how next season might go creep into your baseball thoughts.
Sadly, the Royals aren't going anywhere, maybe not even out of last place in the American League Central, where they've been with only a day's respite since April 14. And unless they win six of their final eight May games, they'll have to wait until June for their 20th win of the season.
All that doesn't bode well for capturing fan interest. But for what remains of May, at least three things should interest fans of even this bad club, one just four games better than Oakland, the majors' worst.
And those things are?
We'll find out if Brady Singer is turning the corner for the KC Royals
It was a year ago today that Brady Singer, back in the major leagues after the short but necessary detour his career took to the minors, sent notice his time at Omaha might have cured his pitching ills when he twirled a scoreless seven-inning gem against Minnesota. Although he didn't get the decision in that game, he finished the season well (10-5 with a 3.23 ERA) and entered 2023 with high hopes.
But he struggled early this year and, giving up 13 runs over just 6.2 innings, lost two of his last three starts before the Royals embarked on their just-completed poor road trip.
In the third of those three starts, though, he surrendered only a run in a six-frame no-decision against the White Sox. Then, in the middle of the road trip, he limited San Diego to two runs in six innings Tuesday to earn his third win of the campaign.
So, will Singer continue what may be his turning of the same corner he negotiated so well last season? We'll find out soon enough—he's scheduled to start against Detroit in tonight's 6:40 p.m. opener of Kansas City's last homestand of the month.
The KC Royals take on the Cardinals in St. Louis at the end of the month
Kansas City and St. Louis renew their Interstate 70 rivalry when the Royals visit Busch Stadium for two games May 29-30. Fans of both clubs always look forward to the clubs' two annual "home and home" meetings.
How interesting will this year's games be? The Royals are as bad as their record indicates, and the Cardinals find themselves six games below .500. But the Cards have also won eight of their last 10 and are suddenly only five games behind Milwaukee in the National League Central.
The teams play again when St. Louis visits Kauffman Stadium for a pair of August night games.
Will this be the month the KC Royals part ways with Hunter Dozier?
By now, it should be apparent that the only conceivable reason the Royals have for keeping Hunter Dozier around is the remote possibility that he might recapture enough of the lightning he caught in a bottle four years ago, when he hit .279 with 26 home runs, 29 doubles, 10 triples, and 84 RBIs in 2019.
It's not that Dozier has, or should have, a place in the Royals' plans after managing only 34 homers and batting .226 over the subsequent three seasons, and slashing .183/.253/.305 this year. Instead, and considering all the positions Dozier can play are currently manned by players he won't displace, a glimpse of the hitter he was in 2019 could create some trade value for Dozier and help free the Royals of the four-year, $25 million deal they surprisingly (shockingly?) gave him before the 2201 season began.
Moving Dozier should have happened long ago. Perhaps his KC tenure will end this month. Whether by trade or DFA, it needs to.