For the past decade or so, the Kansas City Royals have, for the most part, been a team that rolls over and plays dead during the last month of the season. They are usually the team that is seen as an easy win for their opponents, but this year the tides hav
e turned. Sitting 2.5 games back of the final wild card spot, the Royals are a team that has the ability to make a legitimate run for it. How could this be? The answer for this resurgence lies within an offense that has awoken from its slumber, and a consistent pitching staff.
Early on in the year, the Royals were an absolute train wreck on offense. Both prized prospects Eric Hosmer an
d Mike Moustakas were not playing anywhere near their potential, and even reliable Billy Butler was having a down start. Alex Gordon was the one that shown through, and helped keep the Royals relevant. But it wasn’t just him, for the pitching staff was an even bigger part
of keeping hopes alive. Newly acquired pitchers James Shields and Ervin Santana provided the stability of reliable starting pitchers for the first time in many years (think back the 1985!). You knew night in and night out what you would get from them, unlike their prior “ace” Luke Hocheavar (who has retooled himself as an excellent arm out of the bullpen). Bruce Chen has been a nice surprise as well, and he has helped to keep the back of the rotation as solid as the front.
Going in the All-Star break, the Royals had a losing record, and any hope of making it to the playoffs seemed gone. But, with the offense beginning to hit their stride, the Royals made took it from a miracle to a reality. They began to win all of their games against lesser opponents, and even played very well against opponents that they could very well see in the postseason. Now, the Royals have managed to put themselves in a great position as the season winds down.
Now, even though things still look good for the Royals, there are still some obstacles left before they can be in the postseason. First, the Royals need to close the gap to the point that it is either a tie or 1 game back, otherwise they will not have much hope of pushing past the red-hot rays or orioles. As much as I would like to see the Royals contend for the world series, the teams in which they play might just make their mind up for them.