On the quest to roll off 15 wins out of 20 games, the Royals currently stand 5-2 post All-Star break. They took two of three from the Tigers and three of four from the Orioles. It feels like this season is hitting a critical point with the trade deadline approaching and the decision whether to buy or sell. Or both.
Except this little run changes little in the way of math for the Royals. With these five wins, they have shaved a total of one game of the Tigers' division lead. One game. They have removed a game and a half from their deficit in the wild card race. Their playoff odds have actually decreased in that time, due to the removal of seven games from the schedule and the Royals failing to make up truly meaningful ground.
Don't get me wrong. Wins are cool. I enjoy watching winning baseball. But I won't fall for the idea that this team can get back into a race. And I won't fall for the idea the Royals should be buyers at the deadline.
The Royals just finished a stretch of baseball that we viewed a crucial when it began back on July 2. If the Royals were going to prove their mettle, they needed to show they could hang with the powers of the AL. In the 19 games against Cleveland, Oakland, the Yankees, Detroit and Baltimore, the Royals went 10-9. It's a nice record, but it's not good enough. Not if you're still thinking contention.
Some notes from a 7-1 win:
-- Jeremy Guthrie continues to stare regression in the face and laugh. Six innings, six hits, one walk and five strikeouts. The Orioles only real threat of the night was in the fifth when he gave up three hits, but a double play helped him limit the damage to a single run.
-- Billy Butler Bomb. He doubled, too. I'm having a flashback.
-- Chris Getz made a nice defensive play in the third when he skied for a Manny Machado liner and doubled Brian Roberts off first for an inning-ending double play. Alex Gordon trapped a ball (probably) in the outfield, but sold it for an out.
-- The Jeff Zimmerman Hacker of the Night award goes to Alcides Escobar who saw 11 pitches in four plate appearances.
-- The top five guys in the lineup accounted for the damage. Jerrod Dyson reached twice hitting ninth and one through five each picked up at least one hit and one RBI. All but David Lough (hitting fifth) scored a run.
-- Chris Davis wore the Golden Sombrero. He struck out eight times in the series.
-- Next stop, Chicago, Minnesota and the Mets.