The Royals have been surprising through the first one-fifth of the season to say the least. This, combined with the great ballyhoo that has been Hosmas over the last two days, I feel like we (and by we, I really mean I) need to get my feet back on the ground, and get my head back into a more realistic headspace.
There is no arguing that the next 21 games of the Royals season is one of the toughest three-week stretches of baseball they will play this season. It kicks off with a road trip through New York(AL), and swings back for three against Detroit before setting up what has the potential to be one of the most important two-game series of the season so far as the Cleveland Indians come to town for a pair.
The fun doesn't stop there, though, lady and gentlemen, as we proceed to host two against the Rangers and a weekend series against the Redbirds before setting back out on the road again.
So what can we optimistically expect (though tempered by at least a modest dose of realism) from the Royals over the next three weeks?
Here is the Royals schedule, starting from May 10th:
- @Yankees for three games
- @Tigers for three games
- Indians for two
- Rangers for two
- Redbirds for three
- Next off-day (May 23rd)
- @Orioles for three
- @Rangers for three
- Angels for two
Expected Record Prediction Range: 8-13 to 16-5, with a median of 12-9 (this is considered to be the Royals' averaged low-end and high-end victory totals, via mymlbsim.com, with updated rosters for the 2011 season thru completed games May 7th, 2011.)
(Before I continue, I will throw in that I gifted the Royals a victory against Oakland today)
If the Royals go 12-9 from May 10th until the end of May (especially with two of those victories being a sweep of the Indians May 16-17th), then I would consider them to have a legitimate shot at the AL Central this season, particularly in the light of bringing up Duffy, Mazzaro, and possibly Montgomery (if he can get his BB/9 fixed) in June.
Sitting at the end of May, with a 31-24 record, would go a long way, particularly if the Indians regress, and even more so, considering that going 12-9 means winning at least three series against the Yankees, Tigers, Cardinals, and Rangers(x2).
This road trip is going to be huge. If they get swept by the Yankees, it could set a bad precedent going into the Motor City with a resurgent Tigers club. On top of which, a 1-5 or even a 2-4 road trip, with losses against the third-place team in your division, headed into a two-game series with the division leader, would essentially make those must-win games if the Royals have any modicum of hope for contention in this season.
So, in summation, here is what we could be looking at, come June 1st:
Worse-Case Scenario: 27-28
Best-Case Scenario: 35-20
Tempered Best-Case Scenario: 31-24
We'll see. For now, PROCESS.