The Kansas City Royals have a couple of impressive wins since the summer classic and appear to be finally reaching their potential, which would make the American League Central race a lot more interesting.
The Royals had been a lukewarm ball club all year prior to the All-Star break, but have come back from the summer classic with a vengeance. They’ve earned series wins against the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, and have put themselves in a solid position to take their current series with the Chicago White Sox, by winning the first game of the series Friday.
The Royals pitching staff will be their Achilles heel if they hope to be a factor in baseball when fall rolls around. Their staff ranks fifth in MLB post All-Star break in team ERA at 2.62. The key to their success in keeping opponents off the scoreboard has been their control. They are tied for the fewest walks in baseball after the break, which makes it a lot easier on their defense to keep opponents from touching home plate.
Ervin Santana has been the biggest surprise out of the Royals staff. In two starts since the break, he has allowed only one run over 15.1 innings pitched. He has a .78 WHIP over that span and has been locked in with every pitch he throws.
Billy Butler has also been a big factor in the Royals’ offensive success lately. He’s reaching base at a .469 clip with 11 hits over eight games.
Outside of Butler, everyone else has been pretty steady at the plate as well. Alcides Escobar is the only Royal who hasn’t scored a run since the break, which shows that everyone is getting on base and doing their part at the plate. Escobar and Alex Gordon are the only Royals hitting under the Mendoza line since mid-July.
The Royals still sit seven games behind the Tigers in the standings, but injuries are starting to plague Detroit and this may be the best time for them to gain a little ground. The AL Central has gotten a bad rap lately as being one of the worst divisions in baseball, but with the way the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and Royals are playing lately, they are starting to look a bit more formidable.
The bottom line is, the better these teams play against one another, the more equipped they will be to take on the rest of baseball.