OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 11: Eric Hosmer #35 is congratulated by Jeff Francoeur #21 of the Kansas City Royals after he scored in the 12th inning of their game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on April 11, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Yesterday's loss was one of those early season affairs that colors the team's record, and perhaps our perceptions, disproportionally. It doesn't help that the Royals lost the game in one of the most laughably awful ways possible. Instead of leaving Oakland 4-2, the Royals slide home at 3-3. Nevertheless, for a six game road trip against one strong team and one mediocre one, 3-3 is perfectly acceptable.
AL Central Standings
The Royals really haven't started to hit. Kansas City is averaging 3.33 runs per game after a week, third worst in the American League. Only Oakland and Minnesota (haha) have been worse. As a team, our Royals have a .227/.274/.399 line. Really, all the offense has done is hit for a little bit of power (14 doubles - first in the AL, 7- HRs, tied for third) which has kept us, almost, above water, at the plate. But again, the Royals faced two good staffs, and have played half their games in Oakland. And yes, it is April, when offense is generally down. The team's OPS+ is actually at 97.
Royal hurlers are only allowing 2.83 runs per game, second best (behind Texas) in the AL. At 8.5 K/9, the team is striking out batters at the second highest rate in the league. That number is almost all the bullpen and a dash of Danny Duffy and the Sanchize. Aaron Crow is currently striking out 18 per 9, which, yes, would be a record.
The Royal rotation appears to be maddeningly flat. It's almost laughable to think about Ned Yost preparing for a post-season series and "setting up" his rotation. Maybe by the end of the season they'll be a meaningful difference between a Bruce Chen start and a Luke Hochevar or even a Luis Mendoza one. On the other hand, there is something stress-free about the Royal rotation. The Angels very nearly could have lost their Opening Day start from Jered Weaver, which in our hyper-focus of the April, would have seemed like a big deal. The Royals don't have anyone who they're really supposed to win with. We'll see if they can perform the major part of their role, which is to merely eat innings.
Even if the numbers don't really reflect it yet, I like the lineup. You can see something there, that there's enough depth for the team to function even if multiple players are slumping. Nevertheless, a big part of what I'm "seeing" is names and reputations. The last week was also Catchers Hitting Randomly Well week here on Royals TV, and that episode isn't going to run for very long.
So, they've played six games, and have done ok. At this point, I'd like to see the team orbit around .500 for as long as possible. That's where we are.