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A tale of two struggles

There is still hope!

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

While it may be easy to be discouraged by the stretch that the Kansas City Royals have put together to start the year, let’s not forget about the basics. While there are hundreds of reasons that the team’s first 21 games have fallen short of even the simplest expectations, it’s very easy to forget the scale of a full major league season. Across 162 games there will always be some excruciating baseball played even by some of the best teams around. Below I am going to compare the different but similar struggles put on display between this and last year’s team.

The 2021 Royals finished off with a record of 74-88. They were the best team in April, one of the worst teams in May, they hit rock bottom in June, and they climbed their way back up throughout the rest of the year. Along that rock bottom month of baseball, the team managed across a 4-21 stretch. Take a look at the team stats put up during those games.

Offense

.245/.300/.382

3.2 Runs per game

59 Walks, 198 Strikeouts, 24 Home Runs

Pitching

6.62 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 99 Walks, 196 Strikeouts

Now compare this to how the current team is performing during their 7-14 stretch.

Offense

.212/.283/.312

3.0 Runs per game

62 Walks, 154 Strikeouts, 12 Home Runs

Pitching

4.48 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 72 Walks, 154 Strikeouts

So, what does this tell us?

Well, after that stretch in 2021, the team went 41-41 to finish off the second half of the year. The bats heated up some and the young starters completely turned it around. If that doesn’t scream hope for a repeat, then I’m not sure what does.

When comparing these two snippets above, it is clear to see that relative to now, the bats in 2021 were much hotter, but the team was drawing fewer walks, striking out more, and still producing nearly the same amount of runs. On the other end, the 2021 pitchers across those 25 games were plain and simple horrific. Now in 2022, the overall pitching still hasn’t even been average, but thanks to a few specific pitchers, it has allowed us to stay in and win seven games already even when our offense has tried its hardest not to. The Royals could very easily be about 4-17 right now.

It is now only a few days into May paired with the shortened spring and as they normally are league-wide, the bats are the coldest part of this team. They can’t move runners over, they can’t get runners in, and they more often than not can’t even do it if there are no outs in the inning. It is not realistic to expect all of Whit Merrifield, Salvador Perez, Nicky Lopez, Michael A Taylor, Carlos Santana, Hunter Dozier, and Bobby Witt Jr. to bat .225 or under as they all are right now.

While again, this is not anything close to an ideal start from this team, there is still plenty to be hopeful for this season. I would not write anything off 13% of the way through as many already have for this season.