I waited a few weeks to see if the Kansas City Royals could right the ship and…
so far so good!
Kansas City swept Baltimore – a top team in the East – then took three of four from Tampa. Eric Hosmer is back to being his old self, raising his batting average from under .200 in April to .298. Lorenzo Cain is now hitting over .300 and Sal Perez has found his bat with a .283 average. Moose has nine homers and is doing well at the plate – his fielding has been great as well as of late.
So the Royals are now 16-21 – still in last place – but only five games under .500 and 4 1/2 out of first. That’s not where you’d want to be, but hey, it’s a long way from being 10 or more under .500 and on the way to a fire sale of ball players in June.
The $64 million question: Can this team compete for a playoff spot?
There are two reasonable reasons for hope.
First, the pitching is good.
Jason Vargas is arguably the best starter in the league right now at 5-0 with a 1.01 ERA.
Danny Duffy is just 2-3 – he’s had very little run support – but he’s thrown well.
KC’s bullpen has improved at times but is still a bit shaky.
Second, the core players have been improving – led by Hosmer and Perez – but Alex Gordon just can’t seem to hit anymore. And the newer guys are still struggling. Still they won seven of their last 10 for the best two weeks of the season.
KC’s division is weak thus far, so if the Royals can stay around .500 into September they likely will be in the hunt for at least a wild card.
There’s lots of baseball left so it may be a couple months before we know which way this team will go. They’ve improved but need to continue to win 2 out of 3 in series most of the time to get out of the mess they created to start this season.
So we’ll see…