The Kansas City Royals battled for the lead in the AL Central tonight, but they fell just short of holding onto first place. Despite a five-run comeback that erased another tough start from struggling Royals ace James Shields, KC now finds themselves looking up at the division-leading Detroit Tigers and entering Day 2 of a nine-game home stretch with a lot of what-ifs they must now try to forget. The Tigers claimed victory over the Cleveland Indians to reclaim their spot at the top, but tonight’s loss leaves the Royals hungrier than ever.
This loss momentarily ties KC with the Los Angeles Angels for the final Wild Card spot in the AL. Numerous moments in the game and numerous decisions from either skipper could have changed the result and turned this humbling moment into a rousing victory for the home team. Fans will question and argue over Ned Yost‘s decisions tonight, but the high volume of possibly game-changing plays should be seen as evidence that KC is still a team to be feared.
Among other things, it took an almost flawless start from Hisashi Iwakuma and seven runs scored to stop the Royals from defending their divisional lead. Seattle also needed the two hits and two RBIs from Robinson Cano, who I wrongfully hoped would stay cold in KC.
KC’s ability to bounce back from failure became evident from this last two weeks of remarkable success, but nothing can bring a team and its fans back to earth like a painful loss in front of a packed house at home. Let’s not forget that the recent hot streak came immediately after an extremely disheartening sweep against the Houston Astros. Let’s also not forget that the halfway point to this season is still eight games away. Even in the worst-case scenario, we still have several months until this crazy ride comes to an end.