Kansas City Royals Not Out of American League Central Race
Overcoming a seven-game deficit with 19 remaining sounds like a tough task for the Kansas City Royals, but they’re in the midst of the most important part of their schedule and still have the ability to do damage to the teams ahead of them in the standings.
The Royals just completed the first of four consecutive series against a team ahead of them in the standings and have pulled the deficit within a reasonable total considering they still have nine games remaining against the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers. They’ll then play three games against the Texas Rangers who hold the top wild card spot.
The Royals head to Cleveland and Detroit for three-game series before heading home for three more against the Tribe. Both the Tigers and Indians are 5-5 in their last ten games and haven’t put the Royals out of reach yet. If the Royals are able to string together some wins they could still be in the hunt. They’re only 3.5 games out of the second wild card position as well.
Salvador Perez has been a huge part of the Royals’ success lately. He has 23 RBI, seven home runs and a .931 OPS over the past 30 days. The Royals’ catcher is starting to hit for more power and is doing a better job of protecting Mike Moustakas in the lineup. The Royals have ranked in the top ten in team batting average all season but lack power. Only the San Francisco Giants and the Miami Marlins have hit fewer home runs.
Perez has struggled against the Indians this season, posting a .179 batting average with seven RBI in 39 at-bats against them. The Indians will send starter Ubaldo Jiminez to the mound Monday in the series opener who has held the Royals to a .184 batting average this season. The Royals are just 5-8 against the Indians this season but still have a shot at winning the season series if they can get rolling.
Pitching and defense haven’t been a problems for the Royals this season. Their team ERA of 3.03 after the All-Star break is best in the American League and they rank eighth in MLB in fewest errors committed.
They had a very similar stretch of games to end last season and didn’t fare well. They went 4-9 in their final 13 games of the season against the same two opponents last year. They can’t afford to play the way they did at the end of last season if they hope to extend this season deeper into October.