Thanks to a three-game winning streak -- and a 6-4 record in their last 10 games -- the Royals have rocketed to a 16-27 record, and are now only four games behind the Twins for fourth in the AL Central. Unfortunately, thanks to a Texas win in Houston last night, the Royals are still, well, tied at least, for the worst record in the American League. However, if we peek over at the National League standings, we are shocked to see that the Cardinals are just 16-23 themselves.
Looking at BP's Adjusted Standings Report, a little more information may be gleaned. The Royals are essentially what their record reflects, only slightly better: their second-order record is 16.7-26.3, while their third-order record is a borderline magnificent 18.2-24.8. Despite some sentiment that the Royals pitching has been solid through 43 games, they've actually allowed quite a few runs, 216 in fact, the third highest total in the AL. Overall, the Royals are playing at a -47 run differential.
The Cardinals (133-191) are at -58, an impressively horrible mark considering they've played four fewer games than the Royals (43 to 39). Thanks to that mark, the Cardinals are actually -- according to first, second and third order data -- the worst team in the NL Central. As is so often the case, these gaps between run diff and a team's record can usually be quickly explained by one-run-game performance: the Royals are 5-8 in one-run-games, while the Cardinales are "just" 4-5... hence, the Royals' record is a little worse than you might expect, and the Cardinals' is a little better.
Of course, for all things Cardinals, check out Viva El Birdos.
But what about the bitter pitched warfare between the Rockies and Royals, you say? Indeed, last night, thanks to yet another late inning outburst the Royals stormed past the Rockies 5-2, and proudly defended the honor of Mt. Sunflower.
The Rockies got nothin' on Western Kansas!
Bell was active last night, using German and Costa as pinch-hitters, while working in Berroa as a pinch-runner, while getting Shealy into the game at first. The top of the 8th was, in short, one of the coolest frames of the season, featuring a Vlademil homer, a decision to not send Berroa to the plate, and the always awesome single from a pitcher. Smiles all around, and a glorious B.O.D. award for Emil.
Tonight we're in store for another quickie referendum on the wisdom of the Meche signing (always fun) as Giley (3-1, 1.91 ERA) makes his first career start at Coors Field. Coors is playing as only a vague hitters park (107 pf) this season, so who knows what lies waiting for us tonight. All we can be certain of is that tonight's clash will be etched in our minds forever.