For the first time all season, we've had a legitimately good week of Royals baseball to enjoy. After taking two of three from Houston, the Royals rested through an off day, then blasted the Pirates for a three game sweeeeeeep at the K. Thanks to the hot streak -- an incredible 5 of 6 games -- the Royals now proudly own a 22-49 record and trail the Pirates by only 4 games now in the Worst Team Standings.
A week ago the Royals were easily projecting to 110-115 losses; now, thats not so certain. They've raised their winning percentage back over .300 (hello .310!) and are now projected by BP's Playoff Odds Report to go 54-108, their highest win-pace in at least two weeks. Since last Friday, the Royals have banked 23% of their season wins, this after languishing in the teens for a month. Against the Pirates the Royals did two things they almost never do: come from behind (twice) and just completely punish another team with relentless offense (15-7) yesterday.
Seriously, the Royals scored 15 runs yesterday. Does anyone have any clue how that happened? An incredible 5% of the runs our boys have scored all season came in yesterday's game, and thanks to the effort, the Royals blew past the Cubs for 29th place in baseball in runs scored.
Take that Cubs!
The next big question is, when do the Royals get to the 35 win mark? "Grudz69" has posted a poll over in the diaries asking this very question and I encourage everyone to vote early and often.
Many readers chimed in yesterday on the Jenn Sterger rant, which not so shockingly was one of more popular posts of the summer. I wonder why?
One of the screenshots that earned her the gig with SI.com.
While some encouraged Royals Review to end the whining and get better, perhaps the funniest response came from James, aka "JC", who asked that we all embrace the inanity of this team and this season.
Think about it, the Royals have a lunatic owner creating a whinny blog to combat the media conspiracy against his historical awful team. My God, it is like Nixon is running this team.
We have a youth movement in full swing, but a line up which often features only a single player younger than 28.
We have an interchangeably ridiculous pitching staff. Roles are not won on this staff, they are simply handed over with a sigh of resignation. We have a baby faced closer constantly straddling between cocky and terrified. We raid bad teams AAA castoffs with a sincere sense of gratitude.
We have a pair of corner infielders likely to end up with fewer than 20 homeruns and 120 RBIs between them. An outfield patrolled by "old," "insecure," and "scrappy;" to which we have now added, "look how fast I am." Our best bench player has a body that even a graduate student can identify with (I, like you, am one).
What's not to love? And heck, let me go out on a limb. This team will actually be better the second half! Yes, I said it. With Greinke and MacDougal coming back, and say 150 - 200 Sweeney plate appearances, the Royals might actually avoid the infamy that seems to be knocking at their door. Let's have a little fun and, God Willing, raise a toast in August when the Royals win #63. Dare to dream!
There's alot to like in that floating text box of wisdom, especially the bit about the "interchangeably ridiculous pitching staff". We've said goodbye already to luminaries Joe Mays, Seth Etherton, Kyle Snyder and Luke Hudson. We've seen Runelyvs dangled in front of us twice since Spring Training, only to be sent back down. We've seen our best pitcher mysteriously disapeer, and we've seen a guy named Elmer become Buddy Bell's answer to every problem. The Royals have already had 12 guys make starts this season, and at the moment the two best might be Bobby Keppel and Brandon Duckworth, reasonable candidates for a season in AAA (or worse) two months ago. Somewhere in all the madness Scott Elarton has been "hard luck", then awful, then sorta good again. We've even reached the point where someone's playing the fiddle for Jimmy Gobble to get a shot. And through it all, Jeremy Affeldt was feted with a t-shirt day (to celebrate his blisterless streak) as he settles into a roleless role with a team he has literally been on the trading block with for four years.
Where have you gone Denny Bautista? Was that guy supposed to have been good, or was I thinking of the Legend of Greinke again?
After yesterday afternoon, toasting win #63 doesn't seem so far-fetched either. The Royals haven't been half-bad at home (13-19) and can't get much worse on the road (9-30). All in all, its hard not to acknowledge that there's room to reasonably improve, which is the paradoxically great thing about being historically bad for three months.
Here's more good news:
Futility Update-Through 71 Games:
1962 Mets: 19-52
2003 Tigers: 18-53
2006 Royals: 22-49
Donuts for everyone.