The Kansas City Royals are in the middle of a rebuild. We get this. You don’t attempt to win baseball games and also employ the crusty husk of Lucas Duda at the same time, just like you don’t attempt to have fun by riding the Mamba whilst performing your own appendectomy at the same time. As with any rebuild, the question turns to “when will the insert rebuilding team here contend?”
Royals fans have debated this. Recently, Royals Review reader Nopioli wrote a Fanpost about this titled Is 2021 actually doable? Nopioli opined that, and I quote, “2021 is not happening,” but that 2022 is doable if things break right for Kansas City. This seems to be the main argument around the Royals water cooler, that argument being whether the Royals can contend in 2021, like the front office has suggested they can, or 2022.
Personally, I think that 2021 is possible. The Royals have a decent amount of skilled position players still under control through that year, with additional intriguing names in Nicky Lopez, Bubba Starling, Ryan O’Hearn, and Khalil Lee. By that time, we will have probably seen the debut of two or three of the 2018 draft class of pitchers, and...
I’m rambling. That’s a boring take, 2021. It’s two years away! It’s an entire Summer Olympics and soul-crushingly intense presidential election away!
You know what? Screw it. The Royals are making the 2019 playoffs. Here’s how they are gonna get there.
THE TARGET RECORD
It’s somewhat hard to tell what the required record to squeak into a playoff game will be. As I write this, the Oakland Athletics have the second Wild Card slot and a .563 winning percentage, which translates to 91 wins. That should be our target, because literally every other guess—including this one—is a wild dart throw in the dark which, while a terrible way to play darts, is somehow the only way to predict anything in baseball.
Except that we’re going to shave it down to 90 wins. Why? It’s a round number, damn it. This is America, where we love meaningless round numbers. Deal with it or go to Bleacher Report or something. They won’t have this #content; I can guarantee you that.
HOW WELL DO THE ROYALS HAVE TO PLAY TO GET THERE
Tonight’s game is yet to occur as I write this, but because nothing matters and everyone dies anyway (eat Arby’s) I’m going to allot Kansas City an extra win because I feel like it as god of this inane and hypothetical alternate reality.
So, the Royals are currently at 40-64. In order to get to 90 wins, they’d have to go...hm...let me check the math...50-8 to get there. That’s, ah, a .862 winning percentage over 58 games.
YOU IDIOT YOU DID NOT THINK THIS THROUGH DID YOU
Well, no. Of course not. Welcome to Royals Review.
WELL NOW THAT WE’RE ROLLING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN LET’S KEEP GOING I GUESS
Wise idea, bizarre-ass Heading 2 Dude. SEO for this piece is gonna be so out of whack.
Anyway, uh, so 51-8. That means that the Royals can lose eight times, and only eight times. Above them in the Wild Card standings are the following teams:
- Oakland Athletics
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Boston Red Sox
- Los Angeles Angels
- Texas Rangers
- Chicago White Sox
- Seattle Mariners
- Toronto Blue Jays
Additionally, let’s add the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins to this if at all possible, just in case a large body of water and/or very specific baseball field-eating kaiju consumes both teams and the Royals have a shot at the American League Central. Therefore, the Royals cannot lose to any of those teams, if at all possible. Which it is, because this is my scenario. In this scenario, Jeff Golblum also portrays every Autobot and Nic Cage portrays every Decepticon in the wildly successful Transformers romance movies directed by Christopher Walken.
So, here’s how the, uh, rest of the season goes here:
- July, 6-0
Kansas City runs the table the rest of July. Pretty straightforward. It puts the Royals at 17-9 for the month and is their best month of the season so far. It also puts the Royals at their only winning month so far. No, you shut up. Anyway, the Royals end July with a 46-64 record. They do not trade Whit or Soler at the deadline.
- August, 24-4
Kansas City kicks off August by sweeping the Minnesota Twins at Target field. Then, they sweep the Boston Red Sox at Fenway. Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler hit three home runs apiece over the Green Monster. It’s lit.
On Thursday, August 8, 2019, the Royals finally lose for the first time in 16 games. It’s a huge blowout because, hey, you can’t win them all. They lose again on Sunday when Ned Yost trots out a Sunday lineup that includes Soler playing right field and Cuthbert at third base. It goes as well as you might expect.
Kansas City then wins the next six games before losing two to the Baltimore Orioles on August 20 and 21. Both were close games that didn’t go Kansas City’s way. The Royals close out August with nine consecutive victories. At the end of the month, they have 70 wins and 68 losses. They’re right in the thick of it, somehow.
- September, 21-4
The Royals immediately lose, again, to Baltimore on September 1. Then they lose September 3 to Detroit. Kansas City falls to 70-70. The goal seems to slip away before our very eyes. The city begins to weep. City Hall holds a ritual burial of Sly James’ favorite bowties in an attempt to stop the sliding. Two games in a row! Again! What horror!
Well, it worked. The Royals win four consecutive games before losing to the Miami Marlins on September 8 in a bizarre game which featured nine Humberto Arteaga errors, a Nicky Lopez golden sombrero, and two grand slams by Soler, his 53rd and 54th homers on the year.
Kansas City would win the next 12 games before losing one against the Minnesota Twins on September 22. The Twins had caught fire and were on pace for 96 wins. Even the incredibly hot Royals couldn’t catch them. Five wins later, and the Royals had achieved their goal: 90 wins and 72 losses.
- The Playoffs, 0-1
In a cruel reversal, the Oakland Athletics defeat the Royals in the Wild Card game. Kansas City was up four runs in the eighth inning with Danny Duffy on the mound. They lost in extras.
THIS STILL SEEMS LUDICROUS
Yeah, well, you seem ludicrous.