One of the under-commented-upon keys to Kansas City's improvement this season has been a measurable uptick in road performance. While home-field advantage is noticeably weaker in baseball than in other sports, the Royals certainly haven't played that way since 2003. In fact, they've actually been unspeakably horrible while batting in the top half of the inning. That is, until this year:
2007: 34-45 (to date)
The Royals went 43-39 on the road in 2003, but beyond that, the last time they even sniffed the high 30s in road wins was in 2000, when they went 35-46 away from the K, en route to a 77-85 record. Beyond speculations regarding a team's character, focus, grit, etc. -- all data almost no one can really know with any certainty -- the most obvious issue might be relief pitching, as a bad bullpen really hurts a team in close games, especially when the opponent will always be given the final at-bat. If someone wants to run the numbers or look at the recent 'pens, I warmly extend my invitation.
The Royals can match those 35 wins from the immortal 2000 Royals with a win tonight, a further step in the race towards 4th place. Does MLB apply tie-breakers to non-first-place standings races? Because if so, the ChiSox have already claimed the season series. The internet solves many quandries, but I may also need a personal research assistant to answer that question.
Regardless, the highlight of tonight's game is unquestionably the Greinke-Garland rematch of the absurd 3-0 Royals victory last week. With both team's hacking away like figments of Jack Del Rio's imagination, that game ended in less than two hours, with under 200 total pitches thrown. And shockingly, it was a getaway day, day game! Oh, the eternal glories of mankind!
As for finishing strong, consider this: