The end-of-season reckoning for the Kansas City Royals in the last few years has always looked very much the same. They’ve had ninety or more losses for several years in a row (but not more than one hundred since the nadir of the mid-noughties) and have generally been in fourth or fifth place in the AL Central. Last year, 2012, was s slight exception; a weak division meant that the Royals’ ninety losses exactly were good enough for third place, but they were still no closer to contention.
But although it’s never made any difference to the end of season numbers, the starts to the last handful of seasons have varied radically. Last year was the infamous twelve game losing streak that put the Royals behind from almost the word ‘go’. But in 2011 the Royals started the year brightly and a slew of late wins pushed them into first place for a short time in April and they finished the month above the .500 mark. Before that, the Royals had been poor in April of 2010 after being 18-11 and in first place in early May of 2009. Given what transpired in every case, it really is a remarkable level of variation.
But it is something the Royals could do without this year. This year the Royals go into the season with real confidence that they have a properly good squad who can compete in the top half of the division. But it is still a young side and I am not sure all that promise could cope very well not only with another long losing streak, but even just a slow start. After so many years of hurt in Kansas City it is important that the Royals get out of the blocks quickly this year. Looking at the way their recent tarts have varied, they may take some heart from this being an odd-numbered year.