I almost feel like I jinxed the Royals saying they had the best chances as an under .500 team in the American League to make the playoffs. Kansas City just cannot catch a break with injuries to Adalberto Mondesi, and every time he comes back he plays well for a game or two and then gets injured again. The Royals’ pitching staff has also not improved much since I last discussed them as they have given up an atrocious 31 total runs in the last four games alone. So again the big question for this Royals team is how can they get back to .500? They currently sit at 33-43 and somehow still remain in third place in the AL Central. So what can the Royals do to win games? Let’s check it out again I guess.
1.) Fix the pitching/bullpen
The Royals team ERA so far this season comes in at 4.84 through 76 games. The Royals team ERA currently ranks 25th out of 30 in the MLB to show how bad that is. The lowest ERA from the Royals starters would be 1.81 from Danny Duffy, but he has missed too many games to be considered as the ERA leader. Instead, that spot goes to Brady Singer with a 4.70 ERA through 76.2 innings so far, which again is not the best. I sound like a broken record, but the biggest fix in the pitching aspect is to simply have your starters throw longer than four or five innings. This sounds so overly fundamental and easier said than done from someone that does not pitch in the MLB, but what else can I say other than it needs to be fixed for the Royals to win more games.
In the long run, a solid set of starters and a bullpen that is consistent in closing out innings is a key pillar in baseball and at one point the Royals were doing everything right. At one point, the Royals bullpen was easily one of the best in the league this season and had the Royals leading the American League overall. If Kansas City hopes to make any kind of comeback, it starts with the pitching.
2.) Situational Hitting/ Hitting In General
This category of what the Royals need to fix might tie the need for better pitching. The other night in game two against the Texas Rangers, the Royals had I believe either the bases loaded or two men on base with no outs and managed to score no runs. If Kansas City expects to win games leaving runs like that on base, they will continue to lose games. When four or more players have a higher strikeout percentage than they do batting average, you will not score in those key situations with runners on or in scoring position. Again, this sounds so fundamental, but scoring runs when you have two runners on base is a key part of either taking leads or winnings games.
This is another category that I hate to bash on considering all I do is write about how the Royals are doing, but in the grand scheme of things, this Royals team has far too many guys that should have been offensive weapons all season long that just aren’t hitting the ball. Until Kansas City can once again manage the run game by scoring at the most opportune times, they will continue to struggle. Should the Royals manage to turn it around and starting batting in guys from second or third base, the runs will begin to pour in, and then it will come down to that category above this one.
At this point of the season, there are no other ways for the Royals to fix themselves. Better pitching and better situational hitting are all Kansas City needs to start winning games again. I mentioned above that at one point the Royals were the best team in the American League, well I think this narrative has left the building but as far as the best Wild Card team goes, keep that narrative open. With an entire back half of baseball left, there are still plenty of games to go and if the Royals can turn it around in the above categories, they will be back in the race for sure.
Stats from espn.com, mlb.com and baseballreference.com
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