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Game LXXIV: Blue Jays at Royals

Royals go for the sweep

Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

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.

AL Central Division Table
Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
CLE 39 34 .534 -- 345 296 .570
MIN 38 34 .528 0.5 334 376 .446
KCR 37 36 .507 2.0 290 322 .452
CHW 32 41 .438 7.0 334 336 .497
DET 32 42 .432 7.5 350 374 .470
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/25/2017.

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.

AL Overall Table
Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
HOU 51 25 .671 -- 416 303 .641
BOS 41 33 .554 9.0 348 316 .544
NYY 40 32 .556 9.0 402 306 .622
CLE 39 34 .534 10.5 345 296 .570
MIN 38 34 .528 11.0 334 376 .446
TBR 40 37 .519 11.5 378 354 .530
SEA 39 38 .506 12.5 380 375 .506
KCR 37 36 .507 12.5 290 322 .452
LAA 39 39 .500 13.0 341 340 .501
TEX 37 37 .500 13.0 368 340 .536
BAL 36 38 .486 14.0 336 404 .416
TOR 35 39 .473 15.0 316 344 .461
OAK 33 42 .440 17.5 326 400 .407
CHW 32 41 .438 17.5 334 336 .497
DET 32 42 .432 18.0 350 374 .470
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/25/2017.

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:

20170625.csv

Sweep Time
Sweep Time
Time 06/25/17 @ 1:15 CT
Opponent Toronto Blue Jays
Location Kauffman Stadium
TV FSKC
Radio KCSP
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.

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.