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Are Royals Losing Their Playoff Dreams Early?

One of baseball's hoariest cliches is that you can't win the pennant (or the division, or the wild card, or the second wild card) in April, but you can lose it. It doesn't hold up logically: games are games, wins are wins, losses are losses, no matter when they take place.

As we really can't say enough, there's much much baseball left to played. Everything seems magnified because the totals are still small. Trust me, before you know it we're going to be deep into summer and its all going to seem like a blur. But here we are.

AL Central Standings

Detroit 9 4 .692 0 Lost 1
Cleveland 7 5 .583 1.5 Won 2
Chicago 7 6 .538 2 Won 1
Minnesota 5 9 .357 4.5 Won 1
Kansas City 3 10 .230 6 Lost 8

(updated 4.21.2012 at 11:42 AM EDT)

And it stays early for a long time. Last season, the Indians were 30-15 at some point. Did they win the division? Make the playoffs? Finish above .500? No. There are too many examples, positive and negative, to remind us not to overreact to a bad two weeks, or even a bad month.

But damn, even the effing Twins are ahead of us. The Twins!

But it isn't entirely a numbers game. If the Royals truly flame out and remain well below .500 through, say, that old traditional benchmark of Memorial Day, the team might decide to remain conservative the rest of the season, eschewing possible win-now trades (as unlikely as that sounds) or choosing playing time based on long-term development. (What am I saying? The decisions will be as random as ever.) They might delay calling up one of our magical awesome best farm system ever prospects.

And yes, this start might mean the Royals don't quite have a shiny record for the All-Star Game.

The discouraging thing is that you can really understand how the team is losing: the pitching hasn't been great, the offense hasn't been great. This doesn't look like the 2011 Red Sox starting 2-10, or whatever they did. We've got some bad players playing bad. How about a winning streak?