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Game LXXIX: Twins at Royals

It's a new day: The team is back to .500 for the symbolic start of the second half of the season. Let's play two!

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Here we stand on July 1st and it's like starting over. The Royals are back to .500 at 39-39. We'll be at the halfway point of the season after this series, Sunday's game being game 81.

It's not completely back to Opening Day, though, as the team has a little ground to make up. Kansas City is in 3rd in the AL Central, behind Minnesota and Cleveland. They're 1 GB of the Twins, ground that could be made up today, and 3 GB of Cleveland. They also sit just 1 GB of the 2nd wild card spot

But I think most fans (except those wanting a full rebuild) would have taken that after the horrific start to the season.

  • At the end of April, the Royals were 7-16 (.304). That’s a 49-win pace.
    They’ve gone 32-23 (.581) since. That’s a 94-win pace for two months.
  • One week into May, they were 10-20 (.333). That’s a 54-win pace.
    They’ve gone 29-19 (.604) since. That’s a 98-win pace for over a month and a half.
  • For the month of June, they went 17-9 (.654). That’s a 106-win pace for a month.

If you actually know where this is going, share with the class, because I don't think anyone can say with any degree of certainty.

This is the first game of a day-night doubleheader. I could have sworn there was some quote by a famous player or manager about doubleheaders and how they're always a split so they should just give each team a win and give everybody the day off. But I couldn't find it, so I'll make my best guess:

I hate doubleheaders. They're always split so you might as well just give each team a win and give everyone the day off. Also, the Cardinals suck.

-Winston Churchill (probably)

With the help of ESPN's handy doubleheader list, here's some doubleheader fun. I'm going back to 2013, since that's a decent line of demarcation for the current team.

So far this season, 8 of 11 have been split (well, and one became a single game because the second game got rained out). Last year, only 6 of 14 were splits. In both 2014 and 2015, it was 14 of 29. And, in 2013, it was 9 of 25. So, over the last 5 years, 51 of 108 have been split, which is only 47%.

The Royals have actually been quite good with (4.2013) a sweep at Boston (!!), (4.2013) a split at home with Cleveland, (8.2013) a sweep in Detroit, (7.2015) a sweep vs Tampa, (7.2015) a split at the White Sox, (5.2016) a split vs Boston, and (5.2017) a split at Minnesota. That's 10-4 (.714) versus a 390-336 (.537) overall winning percentage.

For the first game, the Royals will start their 10th pitcher of the season, Luke Farrell. Max gave us a quick rundown of him on Friday when it was announced he would pitch today.

Farrell is the 10th Royals SP already this season: Vargas (16), Hammel (15), Kennedy (14), Duffy (11), Karns (8), Junis (6), Strahm (3), Skoglund (3), and Young (2). For contenxt, around the division this year: Indians 7, Twins 9 (though 10 after this series), Tigers 7, and the White Sox 9.

Also, this is pretty cool:

Below is the lineup:

A win would pull the Royals even with the Twins for 2nd place and start the second half of the season out on a good foot. Let's try that.