The good fight that the Kansas City Royals fought in the second half of the Major League Baseball season is all but over as they begin play on Wednesday night. They are now four games out of the final wildcard spot and there is little chance that the several teams in front of them could all lose every game of the season while the Royals win every game the rest of the way. That is okay though because this team proved this season that they can fight through tough times and slumps to provide what the Royals fans have had little of lately, a winning season.
There is going to be a little work involved however if the franchise wants this one winning season to become a tradition. There have been winning seasons with 83 or more wins scattered throughout the past couple of decades but they are almost always isolated incidents. You have to travel back to the decade from 1975 to 1985 to find the last winning tradition for the Royals.
During those ten seasons they finished in first place six times and went to two World Series; winning one of them. Since then there have only been a few close shots. Times have changed however and they can’t just rely on one player to be their leader through the next several seasons if they want to be that successful for that long. What is required is a strong farm system and strong starting pitching.
They proved this season that they have strong starting pitching which is great. What is not so great is the simple ugly fact of free agency which looms around the corner for a few of their starters. They will need to keep the right pitchers and fill in holes in the right places to keep a strong enough pitching staff that will allow for a weaker offense to be strong enough to win. It won’t be easy but the hardest part of creating a winning streak of seasons is the first one. They’ve done that now; the rest is within their grasp.