Nine games ago the Kansas City Royals were three games under .500 and found themselves struggling to keep up with the rest of the AL Central. But after their 11-4 win over divisional opponent Detroit, the Royals are now in first place in the Central and contending as one of the top teams in the entire American League.
The last time that Kansas City was this successful in June was more than a decade ago. In 2003, the Royals found themselves atop the AL Central this late in the season, but they finished the season at 83-79. That is a collapse that they’ll hope to avoid this year, Their current 9-game streak is the longest active streak in the majors and it’s a mark that the Royals haven’t matched since late July last season.
One of the biggest factors for their current streak has to be their improved hitting while at the plate. From the beginning of the season until May 28, the Royals had a .251 batting average, .306 OBP, .348 slugging percentage and 1.2% home run percentage. Since May 29th, the Royals are batting .292 and have a .344 on-base percentage, both of which are best in the American League during that stretch. They also have a .444 slugging percentage and 2.7% home run percentage.
The Royals are also getting help from their pitching staff. They are 7th in the league with 42 quality starts and 14th with a 3.75 ERA.
The 11-4 win against the Tigers on Tuesday was more than just an extension of their winning streak, it was a hopeful sign that KC can compete with Detroit for the AL Central in 2014. Detroit has a bevy of stars, but they are just 9-19 since May 19. Along with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and the rest of the Tigers pitching staff, Detroit has a league-worst 5.73 ERA over the last month.
Kansas City had a huge 2nd inning on Tuesday night. With Billy Butler on base, Alex Gordon homered to right to start things off. After Salvador Perez got on base, Mike Moustakas would also hit a homerun to make it 4-0. Omar Infante then drove home three runners on a single to center and Norichika Aoki would score a few plays later.
The Tigers scored two of their own in the bottom of the inning, making it 4-2 after two.
After a scoreless 3rd and 4th, the Royals would go on to score three more in the fifth and one more in the seventh. They simply had too much firepower on Tuesday night and were able to rack up 15 hits on the evening.
Sherzer got the loss for Detroit, while Yordano Ventura got his fifth win of the season for the Royals.
The Royals may not have the same clout as many of the other teams in the AL, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t putting things together nicely right now. They have quickly increased their odds to 30/1 to win the 2014 World Series, a number that would surely continue to get better if they keep this streak alive.
For more insight into the Royals streak and the rest of the MLB season, be sure to rely on sportspicks.com for handicapper insight. The All-Star break is just a few weeks away, but we already have some divisional races that will make for an interesting second-half of the season.