And if they do, are we screwed?
There's been a lot of excitement so far by the (what I would call) "general media" about this team. Soren Petro, for example, interviewed either Jayson Stark or Buster Olney earlier today, to which he proclaimed the AL Central to be a two-horse race between the Royals and the Tigers; the pundit basically agreed.
I'm not so sure. While the bullpen is good, I think Royal fans might be surprised to find that bullpens are "up" everywhere around the league. The offense, outside of Butler, Gordon and the increasingly consistent Alcides Escobar, is entirely suspect; Lorenzo Cain, I'm looking at you, and it's a glare full of skepticism.
Make no mistake about it: this team is winning on its pitching. We're 23rd in Runs Scored, and substantially further below the actual "mean." In runs allowed, we ranked THIRD (3rd). In all of baseball. Well ahead of the Rays, Dodgers, and a light-year ahead of the Nationals. That simply won't stand.
So I guess I'd like to be optimistic. I just don't see this team founded upon a sustainable model of success. Hosmer and Moustakas look lost, Francouer is still Francouer, and Lorenzo Cain is playing above his head. For the team to continue to succeed, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana need to continue to dominate. The only alternative is that Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy replace them before they are able to regress. I'm going to go ahead and bet now that, that doesn't happen; and further, that Paulino doesn't even sniff the rotation until there's an injury to someone else. I know I'm being the turd in a the punch-bowl here, but can we continue to succeed like this?
I think the answer is unequivocally "no." The offense must produce.