A wise man once said
I follow a simple formula for these conversations. Is the team at .500?
1. If yes, discuss the playoffs.
2. If no, discuss getting to .500.
I think it was Sun Tzu, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Winston Churchill. Or maybe Jeff Zimmerman.
With the Royals north of .500 for the first time all season, we finally get to talk about it! Or, pessimistically, we’d better talk about this as much as we can today as this may be the only chance we get.
The Royals are still a half game back of the Twins, who have kindly been beating Cleveland this weekend. This author is pretty convinced the Twins are probably going to fade so any time they can take some games from the Indians are all right in my book. Though that may come from this author’s opinion that the Twins are due some Royals payback later in the season. In my mind, more importantly is that the Royals are only 2.0 GB of Cleveland. Coming into this series with Minnesota, the Indians had won 8 of 9 but they didn’t bury the Royals because it coincided with the Royals hot streak.
Houston has sailed away for now and everyone else is in their wake. There are 10 teams for the 4 other playoff spots, including 2 division crowns, all within 5 games (and Toronto is 6 games back). With the Royals hot play this month, they've climbed right into the middle of the scrum. And, while the downside of the traffic is that there are still so many teams to clear, if the team keeps winning, they pass another team every day or two. Minnesota is now the leader for the second AL Wild Card. A couple of days ago, it was Tampa.
During this month, the team has taken series from Cleveland, Anaheim, Boston, and Toronto- all teams in that scrum. They have Detroit, Minnesota, and Seattle all before the All Star Break. It's the ideal time for the team to get hot.
Below is the game capsule for today:
|Time||06/25/17 @ 1:15 CT|
|Opponent||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Royals SP||Jason Hammel|
|Opponent SP||Francisco Liriano|
His turnaround this season has corresponded with the team's hot June. He's gone 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA and a sparkling 19:1 K:BB in 27.1 June IP. Hopefully that .250 BABIP doesn't regress too much this afternoon. He's opposed by Francisco Liriano who has been both hurt (shoulder soreness) and ineffective this season (5.76 ERA). Hopefully he doesn't regain his form this afternoon.
Today’s lineup is below: Moose (Cuthbert) and Gordon (Whit) out with Perez DH and Torres in at 2B. That’s definitely a Sunday lineup.
Royals Today: Merrifield 7, Bonifacio 9, Cain 8, Hosmer 3, Perez DH, Cuthbert 5, Escobar 6, Torres 4, Butera 2 (RHP Hammel)— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) June 25, 2017
The Royals are looking for their third sweep on the season. Their first was against the Angels back in April. And the second was against Baltimore in mid May.
NOTE: I was also wrong in yesterday's Game Thread. After that Angels sweep, the team was 6-6 but lost the first game against the Giants 2-1 in 11 innings. So there were actually 3 times when the team was at .500 earlier in the season.