KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 17: Shortstop Ramon Santiago #39 of the Detroit Tigers tags out Jason Bourgeois #30 of the Kansas City Royals while stealing during the game on April 17, 2012 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
So, I suppose that I have to write this post.
A week ago, the Royals were 3-3, a start, that I argued, we'd pretty much all take. Our squad went on the road to Anaheim and Oakland and came back .500. Solid. Acceptable. Cromulent.
A week later, they still have 3 wins. Obviously, plainly, clearly, this is not good. Losing isn't fun. Losing your first six home games isn't enjoyable. Losing seven straight games hurts. But there's nothing left to do except to turn the corner. Only 7.4% of the season has been played. The Royals still have 150 games left.
AL Central Standings
- The team, overall, just hasn't played well. The Royals are 12th in the AL in runs per game (3.75) and 10th in runs allowed per game (4.92).
- Offensively, the Royals are right around league average in terms of batting average (.255) [yay horrible low-offense era in April!!] but giving up ground in OBP (.306, 11th), and SLG (.404, 10th). I think, when you look at the OBP and SLG you might conclude that they're a smidge unlucky to be 12th in runs per game, but when you don't really have an offensive strength, that's going to happen. The White Sox, for example, don't get on base either, but at least they have some power. Having under a 50% success rate on the basepaths hasn't helped either (6 steals in 13 attempts).
- The offense needs the core players to start producing. The three regulars with the lowest OPSes on the team are Francoeur (.612), Hosmer (.593), and Gordon (479), who also have a huge chunk of the playing time. The Royals lost a game last night in which Alcides Escobar homered, which in my rulebook should never happen. A good amount of hot hitting from Butler, Yuni-Bomb, and Quintero has been wasted. Oh well, that's how lineups usually work.
- We've already talked about the pitching a little bit, and overall the staff has been properly Sanchezized. The Royals are 4th in the AL in K/9 (8.1) but 12th in BB/9 at (3.6). They've gotten everything they could have hoped for from Bruce Chen, who has a 2.00 ERA after three starts, but aside from Danny Duffy, the rest of the rotation, overall, hasn't been helpful. Despite a shiny reputation and loads of potential, the bullpen, at present, is littered with ugly numbers. Save of course for Mitch Maier.
This is completely unscientific, but the American League just feels tough this season. Where are the horrible laughingstock teams of yesteryear? Maybe the Twins? The Orioles? Things don't really get easier for the Royals this month. This weekend KC will face the Blue Jays at home, followed by a trip to Cleveland and Minnesota. Anything is possible, but that doesn't sound like nine games you'd necessarily circle as a change to make up ground.