Baseball finally resumes tomorrow with 74 games left on the regular season schedule for the Royals. The second-half opponents for the remainder of the season combine for a .494 winning percentage, which may give the Royals a chance to climb into a pennant race. Over the last three seasons, the Royals have a .593 winning percentage after the All-Star break. Do they have another surge in them? Let’s take a look at the second-half schedule.
3 Game Roadtrip: July 15-17 at Tigers
The Royals have a short excursion to the Motor City this weekend to take on the Tigers, who are in second place, but just a half game up on the Royals. Ian Kennedy will get the ball for the first game against Justin Verlander, who has pitched well with a 3.58 ERA over his last nine starts. Danny Duffy tries to continue his streak of terrific starts against Mike Pelfrey on Saturday, then the finale pits Yordano Ventura against sensation Tigers rookie Michael Fulmer. The Royals have won 5 of 7 from the Tigers this year, but this will be the first time they will face them in Comerica Park.
9 Game Homestand: July 18-27 vs. Indians, Rangers, Angels
This is probably the most critical stretch of the season for the Royals. They face two first place teams, plus the last place Angels who swept them in Anaheim earlier this year. A good homestand could convince management to make a trade for a significant addition. A bad homestand probably means the Royals have a quiet trade deadline.
Cleveland has been a hot team, winning 17 of their last 23. Edinson Volquez will start the opener of the Indians series against Corey Kluber with whoever the Royals choose as fifth starter facing Danny Salazar, a dicey pair of matchups for the Royals. The Royals are off July 21, one of just two off days the have from July 15 until August 22. This will be the first time the Royals will play the surprising first-place Rangers this year. Texas has the worst bullpen ERA in the American League which could open the door to Royals Devil Magic.
8 Game Roadtrip: July 28-August 4 at Rangers, Rays
The Royals play their first series in the Dallas Metroplex in late July, an unbearable time of the year to play in the heart of Texas. The Rangers have won nearly two-thirds of their games at home this year, making this a tough matchup. The trade deadline is Monday, August 1, the first game of the Rays series, so Tampa Bay could be without Jake Odorizzi or Matt Moore, both of whom are rumored to be on the trade block.
6 Game Homestand: August 5-11 vs. Blue Jays, White Sox
In August, the Royals host the Blue Jays for the first time since finishing off the Jays in the ALCS last year. Last August, the two teams engaged in a brawl after Aaron Sanchez intentionally plunked Alcides Escobar in retaliation for Royals pitchers hitting a few Blue Jays hitters. Speaking of past brawls, the White Sox come into town in August with Chris Sale and Brett Lawrie in tow. The Royals swept the White Sox the last time they were in town with a trio of gut-punching late-inning comebacks.
6 Game Roadtrip: August 12-17 at Twins, Tigers
The Twins have been a mess all season, and the Tigers have had a rough season with manager Brad Ausmus on the hot seat all year. The Royals have won 10 of 13 games against these two teams in 2016. If the Royals are going to shake off their road woes, this is the road trip to do it.
4 Game Homestand: August 18-21 vs. Twins
When the Royals made their run in 2014, they went 14-6 after July 29 against the two worst teams in the division - the White Sox and Twins - winning every single series against them down the stretch. If the Royals are to make a run this year, they’ll probably need a similar stretch against the Twins.
6 Game Roadtrip: August 23-28 at Marlins, Red Sox
This should be a tough road trip as both teams have played well this year, with the Red Sox playing particularly well at Fenway Park. The Marlins have gone just 4-7 in interleague play against the Tigers, Rays, and Twins. This will be the last time the Royals ever have to face David Ortiz.
6 Game Homestand: August 29-September 4 vs. Yankees, Tigers
The Royals played poorly up in Yankee Stadium earlier this year, dropping three of four, but playing at Kauffman Stadium should give them an advantage. If the Yankees fall out of the pennant race, they could missing key pieces like Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, or Carlos Beltran, all of whom are on the trade block.
6 Game Roadtrip: September 5-11 at Twins, White Sox
Of the last 29 games of the season, 25 come against Central Division foes, so the Royals have the opportunity to separate themselves, if need be. The Royals will be in Minnesota for an afternoon Labor Day matchup.
8 Game Homestand: September 12-19 vs. Athletics, White Sox
The Royals get a pair of four-game series against two teams that could be well out of the pennant race by this time.
6 Game Roadtrip: September 20-25 at Indians, White Sox
The last roadtrip of the season takes the Royals to Cleveland, which could be must-win games if the Royals are still trailing the Indians.
6 Game Homestand: September 27-October 2 vs. Twins, Indians
The last series of the year could have divisional ramifications if the Royals can catch up to Cleveland, with the Saturday afternoon game scheduled to be a national telecast on Fox Sports 1.