After 3-12 Start, Royals Face Long Playoff Odds

April 22, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas (8) dives into second with a double against the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

The Royals are now 3-12 and while there are still 147 games left to play, the hole they have dug for themselves is considerable. As always, we need to be careful not to over-analyze fifteen games, but we shouldn't ignore them either.

Really, we have two questions to think about when looking at this young season. The first, broader question is, "are the 2012 Royals actually any good?" The fifteen games played thus far only take us so far in answering that one. The second is more specific to the world we now live in, namely, "what kind of season can the 2012 Royals now have?"

For the first time since 2004, a healthy number of Royals fans went into the 2012 season really expecting at least, something close to a .500 team. Many felt that truly contending for a playoff spot was realistic. To give us a baseline for evaluating those scenarios now, let's look at the following chart.

To Reach... The Royals Need to Go... Which Would Be a Winning % of...
81 wins 78-69 .530
85 wins 82-65 .557
88 wins 85-62 .578
90 wins 87-60 .612

Are the Royals, even if you close your eyes and erase the last two weeks, really good enough to reach any of those thresholds? Can you see this bunch playing .530 baseball for 147 games and getting back to .500? A .530 team is, over 162 games, an 86 win squad, a fringe playoff contender. If that's what you felt about the Royals on Opening Day, the decay which has taken place over the last two weeks has already knocked the Royals down to .500.

As for the higher marks, well, the point is painfully, nakedly, obvious. It was always going to be unlikely -- no impossible, but unlikely -- that the Royals win 90 games or more this season. To get there now, they'd need to play .613 baseball for the next 147 games, which is better than any American League team managed last season. That's a 99 win team. Do we even need to talk about higher totals?

To conclude, it should be noted that there is a flaw in this kind of analysis. A plausible scenario of the Royals winning 85 games, might well have had the team going 3-12 at some point. Only now, that stretch has actually happened. Absent some insane winning streak, the Royals have now burned their "horrible two weeks, losing nine straight at home" card. Now matter how you want to express it, it's all got to be stretches of mediocrity and hot streaks from here on out.

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