At just over the one-third mark of the 2014 season, the Kansas City Royals currently sit at 29-32, five games back from the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. If the Royals are going to make a playoff run this season, they are going to need to stay around .500 up until the All-Star Break and then really pick up the pace afterwards in order to compete for a wild card spot or potentially a division title.
The Royals offense has been anything but spectacular so far. The team total in homeruns currently sits at 26, and 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup, Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, both only have one home run and it is already well into June. The Royals have had a lot of help from Lorenzo Cain and his clutch hitting with runners on base, and the team also is also tied for second in the league with 50 stolen bases. Although the power numbers are lacking tremendously, the Royals are still in the middle of the pack in runs scored and are finding other ways to be able to stay in games.
The Royals starting pitching has been better than I think was expected at this point in the year. James Shields has been the cornerstone, with help from Yordano Ventura, and JasonVargas. Jeremy Guthrie has pitched well, although his win-loss record would beg to differ. Bruce Chen has been on the disabled list, and Danny Duffy has done a good job at filling in and being a quality starter, which is something that you can expect to see a lot more of going forward. Royals’ pitchers have had some trouble giving up hits and homeruns, but overall the staff has done a pretty good job at keeping the ball club in games with little help from the offense.
The Royals are known around the league for the strong outfield play with Alex Gordon being the leader. Alcides Escobar is one of the most solid shortstops around and Eric Hosmer’s glove is a valuable tool to the team. With this being said, I have not felt the team has played to the level they are capable of. There is nothing in particular that is definitely a burden to the fielding, but ranking 14th out of 30 teams in errors seems a little low for a team with so much talent at each position. Fielding is an area the Royals are really going to need to rely on as each run is going to be crucial this season, as the teams hitting doesn’t seem to be picking up and may not at all this season.
Overall, I am pretty happy with where the ball club is at this point in the season. The Detroit Tigers really started to pull away a few weeks ago, but during their losing streak the Royals gained a bit of ground and still have a chance to be a contender come October.
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