The Kansas City Royals have been one of the hottest teams in baseball over the past few weeks. They have won eight out of their last ten games and were in first place in the American League Central for all of two days. The Detroit Tigers are back in first place, but only by a half game over the Royals. Offense has been the key for the latter team, as they scored a total of 26 runs in their recent four-game series against the Tigers, in which they won three out of four games. With that being said, the Royals look like an efficient team now, but can they keep it up for the rest of the season and snatch the division away from the powerhouse Tigers team?
My answer is probably not. It’s possible that the Royals could be one of the two play-in teams for the AL Wild Card, but other than that it seems hard to imagine this team winning the division. The Royals haven’t made the postseason in almost 30 years, the last being in 1985 when they won the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The days of Brett Saberhagen and George Brett have since been long gone as the Kansas City fans have suffered through three decades of futility.
Even though the Royals have been going nowhere for as long as anyone can remember, they are showing some signs of improvement. They have many young talents, such as Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, and pitchers Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura. Not to mention the veteran players they have, such as Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and James Shields. If not this year, this team could be a team to watch in the future.
One under-looked reason that the Royals are competing this season is that they have one of the best bullpens in all of baseball. In that bullpen is one of the best closers in the game, Greg Holland. He has 21 saves so far this season, with only one blown save on his record. His ERA is a stellar 1.88 along with an impressive 1.12 WHIP. The other stud in the Royals’ bullpen is Wade Davis, who was formerly a starting pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays and last season with the Royals. Davis had a tough season as a starter last year, going 8-11 with a 5.32 ERA. Royals manager Ned Yost must have seen something in Davis to switch him to the bullpen, and it seems to be working.
There is still plenty of time left in the season for the Royals to do some damage and make a postseason push. If their hitters keep hitting and their starting pitchers pitch effectively, anything could happen. But, the Tigers have been one of the top teams in the AL for the past three years or so and overtaking them will be difficult. The Royals certainly have the tools to do it, although it seems unlikely that it will happen.
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