It is August 10th, or if you went to be early, you are waking up on August 11th and the Kansas City Royals are a game and one-half in front of the pack for the second wild card berth. Even more, they find themselves just one-half game behind the injured riddled Detroit Tigers.
What the hell is going on here?!!
Weird things happen when a team with a great bullpen gets good starting pitching at the same time Billy Butler and Alex Gordon hit. Baseball things happen.
Winners of 14 of their last 17, the Royals have benefited greatly from the fact that Billy Buter (by chance or by because he is getting to play in the field) has 11 extra base hits over that span. A third of Butler’s extra base hits have come in the last three weeks while his fellow hold-over from the Allard Baird era (Alex Gordon) has hit seven more extra base hits and walked eight times.
That combination makes baseball seem easy. It won’t always be that way.
I’ve done some statistical analysis and have come to the conclusion that the Kansas City Royals, nor any other team, is going to maintain a 14-3 pace for the rest of the season. I know, who would have thought?
That said, the Royals control their own destiny with just 47 games left to play in the regular season. They have a real chance to overtake Detroit and win the Central Division. They have a very good chance of hanging onto that second wild-card spot. They should make their chances even better.
This playoff race almost certainly seems to be headed to a final week conclusion, the margin to get into post-season might well be one game. Dayton Moore (and David Glass) should do whatever possible to find one or two more wins. Sure, you can look forward to the return of Eric Hosmer, but that is likely three weeks away at least and I just don’t think teams routinely get to the playoffs by playing Raul Ibanez at designated hitter…not with Mike Moustakas playing third (he’s surged ALL the way to .200!).
Three weeks is a long time: long enough for Toronto or New York or Detroit or Seattle to get just as hot as the Royals are. It is also long enough for the Royals to endure some tough luck or revert to the team that not very long ago could not score any runs.
He does things the Royals don’t really understand, like take walks, and he also does things they are only a little familiar with, like hit home runs. He strikes out a ton and doesn’t hit much of anything else besides home runs, but he is a tremendously more effective hitter than Raul Ibanez or Eric Kratz.
Who do you want to be your designated hitter for the next 21 days? Who would you have more faith in helping to continue this freakishly fun ride?
I have a hard time imagining you have to give up a ton for seven weeks of Adam Dunn, certainly not any of your top five prospects and probably not even your top ten. I have not heard that Dunn has cleared waivers and it would seem possible that he might not, but it certainly is something worth exploring if you are the Royals.
The Royals may find that Dunn is unavailable or that the White Sox don’t want to be reasonable in a trade (although it would seem odd they wouldn’t take something) and if that is the case then they should be ‘aggressively pursuing the waiver-trade market’ as they claimed they would do on July 31st.
Winning baseball games should not have changed that mindset. In fact, it should only make the Royals’ organization more intent on improving this team.
Even if the improvement is just one game.