AL Central standings and Wild Card update

Hannah Foslien

Taking a look at where the Royals nine-game winning streak leaves them in the AL Central standings and wild card race.

The Kansas City Royals have embarked on an impressive run since the All-Star Break, winning nine straight games and 11 of their past 13. Dayton Moore's statement that this team could win 15 of 20 now looks prophetic instead of blasphemous, and with a three-game series coming up against the New York Mets, it's easy to imagine this team keeping their winning streak alive.

Despite the impressive stretch of games, taking a look at the AL Central and Wild Card standings presents a sobering view at this team's chances of reaching the post-season. Let's start with the division standings.

TEAM W L GB RS RA ESPN POFF BP POFF
Detroit 61 45 - 549 417 91.2 95.8
Cleveland 60 48 2 519 463 55.4 28.5
Kansas City 54 51 6.5 417 407 11.8 2.8
Minnesota 45 60 15.5 420 479 0.1 0
Chicago Sox 40 66 21 391 473 0 0

Despite the recent run that helped Kansas City go 15-10 in July, the team sits farther back from the first place Detroit Tigers on Aug. 2 than they did on July 1. The Tigers went 18-8 in July, while the Cleveland Indians matched the Royals 15-10 record.

There are a few other reasons why the Royals playoff percentage has decreased this month despite their winning record. The Royals have played 105 games, and are slowly running out of time to make up the difference. Both Detroit and Cleveland have greater run differentials than Kansas City, which suggests those two teams are simply better than the one we cheer for. Most projection systems see the Royals playing .500 baseball the rest of the season, which will not be enough to win the AL Central.

The recent winning streak has placed Kansas City in the thick of the Wild Card race, but the Royals would need to pass four teams to earn a chance in the coin-flip game:

TEAM W L GB RS RA ESPN POFF BP POFF
Tampa Bay 64 44 - 498 429 87.7 92.8
Cleveland 60 48 - 519 463 55.4 28.5
Baltimore 60 49 0.5 510 487 31.1 21.8
Texas 60 49 0.5 463 444 40 53.2
NY Yankees 56 51 3.5 412 418 9.2 9.2
Kansas City 54 51 4.5 417 407 11.8 2.8

Only the New York Yankees have lower playoff odds than Kansas City, and that's only in the ESPN calculations. The Royals actually have a higher run differential than New York, but lag behind the other teams ahead of them.

Kansas City is closer in the WC race, but will need to pass more teams to secure a playoff spot. I could see the Royals out-playing New York and potentially Texas during the remainder of the season, but it's tough to imagine them leap-frogging everyone.

Buster Olney of ESPN.com ranked the Royals' schedule as the hardest remaining schedule of all the contenders, as the team is in the midst of 44 games in 44 days. Kansas City will play four consecutive series against Cleveland and Detroit in mid-September, so if the Royals could manage to hang around until then, the team could go on a miraculous run and earn a playoff spot.

Unfortunately, a minor miracle is probably what's it's going to take to get this team a playoff spot. It certainly seems like this team is capable of anything right now, but despite my earlier claims, they are not going to win out. The Royals need to make up ground on teams that have played better than them all season and project to play better in the final two months. It's certainly possible, but you still shouldn't get your hopes too high.

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