The Royals are 8-2 in their last 10 games and 11-10 in May, making their first winning month since July of 2003, when they went 15-11. In 2006, the team's best month was June, when the Royals stormed to a 13-14 mark, closing the month with back to back victories over the Cardinals.
Thanks to their blistering play -- I attended the loss that marks the end of the pre-last-10-games by the way, the extra inning defeat at the Cell -- the Royals are now only 3.5 games behind the Twins for fourth place in the AL Central, and now own a .404 winning percentage, better than two (yes two!) other American League teams (Texas and Tampa Bay).
Baseball Prospectus now projects the Royals to finish 71-91!
In the last ten games, the Royals have hit .299/.371/.474 as a team, getting consistent, widespread production from the core of the lineup for essentially the first time all season. When the top two-thirds of the lineup isn't populated with Out Machines, good things start to happen. Last night notwithstanding, the Royals really haven't been doing it with home runs, belting only 10 long balls in the last 10 games. Instead, the boys have been taking their walks, seeing a fair amount of balls-in-play find the grass for singles, and getting 2.3 doubles per game.
Perhaps most importantly, with runners in scoring position, the Royals are hitting .349/.444/.604. This isn't a sustainable level of performance with RISP, but it is indicative of the kind of cascade effects you might expect when three or four guys start hitting the ball well at the same time, which is certainly the case for the Royals at the moment.
Similarly, the Royals are pounding opposing relievers to the tune of .377/.483/.631, and hitting .449/.526/.653 in the 8th inning.
All good things, and almost like something you'd expect from a legitimate American League ballclub in 2007. With 11-run games bookending the most recent 10-game span, the Royals averaged an impressive 6.2 runs per game whilst going 8-2.
Individual batting lines of note during the last 10 games:
John Buck: .360/.469/.800 (3 HRs)
Ryan Shealy: .440/.481/.640
Mark Teahen: .359/.468/.538
David DeJesus: .283/.365/.435
Mike Sweeney: .259/.355/.556
Alex Gordon: .297/.350/.486
Tony Pena Jr: .306/.306/.389
As the Royals hit, the pitching staff has made sure the bad guys haven't: opposing teams have managed only a .246/.329/.388 line in the past 10 games. While the starting rotation has been solid, allowing a measely .255/.325/.421 from opponents, the bullpen has been truly stupendous, inducing a .233/.336/.333 "performance" from their enemies. That .336 OBP by the way includes 5 intentional walks, by the way.
To this end, during the 8-2 run, Royals hurlers have allowed just 37 runs, working out to a nice 3.7 runs per game. Certainly, playing the Rockies and A's didn't hurt, and the staff has certainly been wobbly these last two evenings against the Indians. Still, thanks to an opposing batter's line of .170/.321/.295 with RISP, in terms of run prevention, the Royals have been unstoppable baby!
Pitching lines of note from the last 10 games:
Zack Greinke: 5.1 IP, 7Ks, 1 BB, 0.00 ERA
Brandon Duckworth: 5.2 IP, 7BBs, 2 Ks, 1.59 ERA
Jorge de la Rosa: 13.3 IP, 6Ks, 3BBs, 2.02 ERA
Odalis Perez: 12 IP, 10Ks, 3 BBs, 2.25 ERA
Joel Peralta: 7 IP, 5Ks, 1BB, 2.57 ERA
Gil Meche: 12 IP, 8Ks, 3BBs, 3.75 ERA
Brian Bannister: 11 IP, 7Ks, 4BBs, 4.09 ERA
Joakim Soria: 6 IP, 7Ks, 3BBs, 4.50 ERA
(Day by day stats generated by the Baseball Musings Database.)