If there is any time to jump on the Kansas City Royals bandwagon, the time would be now. They have a winning record heading into the month of September, Dayton Moore wasn’t prompted to fire-sale all of the major pieces of their success, and the Royals are still in the hunt to make the postseason (even though it will be a miracle if they clinch a berth). The biggest reason to hop on board, though, would be the fact that the Royals looked poised to be a serious contender next season.
All the major parts are there. Ervin Santana and James Shields have panned out this year, and are certainly able to maintain those numbers next year. Eric Hosmer has come around, and players like Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler are ready to have bounce-back years next season.
In my last article, I had predicted that the Royals would end the week at 4-3, officially dashing any hope of the postseason. The main reason for this was that I believed that poor pitching would lead to their demise (as shown by their inability to maintain large leads in must win games). Much to my surprise, the Royals managed to win the majority of their games, keeping them 4.5 games out of the last wild card spot. But now, things will get even harder.
This week, the schedule turns from beating up on teams out of contention to playing teams that have the firepower on both ends to knock the Royals flat out. The biggest foe this week is the Detroit Tigers. They sit with a firm grasp on the AL central, and are playing some of their best baseball of the season. Miguel Cabrera is still playing superhuman-esque baseball, and Prince Fielder is no slouch either. The Royals will need to play an amazing series against them in order to make up ground.
Looking ahead to the remainder of this week, it is safe to assume one thing: these next few games are where Ned Yost will earn his pay. If he can keep the Royals alive, he will be a very strong candidate to return to the dugout. If not, it might be time to find a new bench boss.
Prediction- Royals make strides, but fall short against Tigers, fall 6.5 games back in Wild Card.