The Kansas City Royals have yet to play their best baseball for any extended period of time in 2014. They hope to change this soon, and after a dreadful five-game losing streak, KC has won their last two. After sending fans in So-Cal to the beach early today with a three-run first inning that led to a blowout victory against the San Diego Padres, the stage is now set for KC to rebound and salvage the rest of the month.
The Royals travel north to start a four-game series with the Seattle Mariners tomorrow. Seattle’s ace Felix Hernandez pitched today, so KC will avoid facing him during this trip. Two of the other four Mariners with at least three starts have an ERA higher than 6.7. KC needs to win this series, as well as the other two in May against sub-.500 teams, if they wish to stay afloat in the AL Wild Card race. Since the rival Detroit Tigers are now five full games ahead of everyone in the Central, a Wild Card berth already seems like KC’s best bet to get into the postseason.
The Royals still have 12 games to play in May against teams competing in their division, but they have three each against the Chicago White Sox and the struggling Houston Astros. The Sox are actually second in the division, but they’re only a .500 ball club. Houston, on the other hand, is easily the worst team in MLB with only 10 wins total this season.
All these ups and downs make the marathon of baseball the best sport in the world, but it’s incredibly taxing on the psyches of the players themselves. To salvage the month and remain relevant, KC now needs to show some serious grit.