The Kansas City Royals should be riding high after their series win against the imposing Baltimore Orioles, but they now face a new challenge. The Toronto Blue Jays just traveled to KC for a three-game series that starts on Tuesday and will round out the first full month of the 2014 season. The Royals need to reverse a trend of failure while facing their “friends” from the north in order to win their next series.
The Royals are 4-10 against Toronto in the last two years, and they’ve only won two season series against the Jays out of the last 10. KC will try to start the series off with strong offensive output from players with long-term success against Toronto. Omar Infante is hitting .302 with 13 RBIs in 32 games against the Blue Jays, and Salvador Perez posted a .367/.415/.531 slash line against them with six RBIs in only 13 games.
The supreme speedster Jarrod Dyson, who is doing everything he can to earn more starts with KC, has also enjoyed success in a small sample size vs. Blue Jays pitching. Dyson has five extra-base hits and a .345 average against Toronto in nine games. What might surprise fans of either team more than stats from any single player are the clubs’ 2014 defensive performances.
Toronto leads the majors in team fielding percentage at .991, which is something KC tries to hold as their claim to fame despite their .976 being 26th in baseball. The Jays were coincidentally ranked 26th in this stat last season, which means they’ll be making a huge improvement if they can keep this up throughout the year.
This improvement would profoundly affect a team with pitchers like Mark Buehrle, the mediocre-at-best Dustin McGowan and several others who rely heavily on their defense. Toronto is one of many who could compete for an AL Wild Card, so I’ve been rooting for them to suck since the season began. Now a home series against the good guys will have me cheering even more fervently for fumbles and stumbles.