It may seem odd to say that a team that is four games above .500 and in first place in their division have had a ‘tough’ month, but that is actually true with the Kansas City Royals. Their schedule has actually been very unfavorable and the fact that they have come through it so well is cause for optimism for the rest of the year.
The Royals will finish the month at home and actually finish it in the middle of an elongated homestand, but that homestand is somewhat overdue. The Royals had only six home games in their first 20 this year, barely more than a quarter of the total.
This is always a possibility in the early season, of course, but rarely is it so dramatic. The Royals will have the rest of the year to make up for that, so it may be helpful in the long run, but it was hardly ideal for a team that were desperate to make a fist of it this year.
Not only were a lot of the games on the road, however, they were tough road games. Few teams would complain about a long early-season trip to places like Houston and Miami, but the Royals’ scheduled eight-game roadtrip in the middle of the month (which ended up at only seven due to a rainout) sent them through Atlanta, Boston and Detroit.
But the Royals came through that difficult road trip with a winning record and actually did not lose any of the three series they played. It was a fantastic effort and now, almost by default, the schedule gets easier. They have a long homestand that pits them against a couple of struggling teams and although the difficulty level goes back up after that, it is never quite so imposing again this season.
The Royals are 14-10 now and although there will certainly be ups and downs over the course of the season, they have done that in as difficult circumstances as they are likely to face this year. They might well improve that record by a lot.