Written by: Tre LyDay – Staff Writing Intern (@trelyday03)
Let’s be totally honest here, is it cool to see the Royals once again claw their way into the playoff picture? Yes. Is the rest of the American League amused by this? Probably not. I live in Kansas City, so I get to experience first hand how excited Royals fans are with their recent success, but what they really want to know is will it all come full circle, and lead to another playoff appearance?
Sadly they probably won’t be able to pull this one off. Mostly, because of who they’re chasing, and who they have to play. The Royals are currently 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. They are chasing the Red Sox, Orioles, Mariners, Tigers and they’re tied with the Astros. Not to mention the Yankees are breathing down their neck as well. With all due respect to the Royals, all those teams mentioned are as a whole, except maybe the Yankees are better than the Royals.
I’ve noted before that the Royals have holes. As good of a fielder Raul Mondesi is, he’s not the greatest at the plate. He’s only hitting .203 with a .545 OPS which isn’t going to be enough down the stretch. Paulo Orlando is hitting a cool .316 on the year, but he only has a .765 OPS. Eric Hosmer leads the team with a .772 OPS, and that barely cracks the top 100 in all of baseball. The point I’m trying to make here is that the Royals one, still don’t walk that much, and two, they don’t collect bases in bunches. Look at all the teams ahead of them, all of them are reliant on the home run ball, and are very proficient at hitting them. As times have changed, I’ve had a hard time trusting teams that don’t hit home runs. Although they proved us wrong last year, I don’t believe they’ll be able to do the same thing again.
Regardless of what you do at the plate, you have to be able to pitch. Danny Duffy is on a nice little run, that much you can’t deny. Unfortunately I’m not sold on him. Most of Duffy’s work this year has been done in the bullpen this year. Duffy is 10-0 with a 2.21 ERA since June 27th, but the Royals are still only 24-25 in that same span. Which means the Royals starting pitching isn’t deep enough. After Duffy the Royals have Edinson Volquez, Dillon Gee, Ian Kennedy and Yordano Ventura.
As I’ve said many times before the Royals don’t have an ace, and they barely have a number two. Volquez has a 5.04 ERA on the year, and in his last 15 starts he has a 6.08 ERA. Dillon Gee has a 5.15 ERA in his last five starts. Ventura has had the definition of an up and down year. Luckily for him he’s been dealing in the month of August, but who knows how long that will last. Wade Davis was eligible to come off the DL last Friday, but it will probably be later rather than sooner before he comes back. Normally a team with pitching woes like this is normally at rock bottom, but somehow the Royals have skated by which to me is inexplicable.
As mentioned before the primary reason the Royals won’t make the playoffs is because of who they’re chasing. The Red Sox and Orioles currently own the two Wild Card spots, which isn’t good for the Royals. The Red Sox and Orioles reside in the same division, along with the Yankees who are a half game behind them, and they all have multiple series left against each other, and someone has to win those games. The Mariners and Astros reside in the same division as well, and it’s the same story for them. Multiple series against each other, and both are fully capable of winning their other divisional games. The Tigers have two series left against the Royals, which will be absolutely crucial for them. As for the Royals actual schedule they head to Miami on Tuesday, and the Marlins just swept the Pirates. The Marlins are also as a whole roster, better than the Royals. Then they head to Boston for the weekend who they are chasing in the Wild Card.
It’s going to be a long 38 games for the Royals, and their playoff hopes. From holes in their lineup to holes in their pitching staff, the Royals have skated by through thick and thin to this point, and the chance to a 2007 Rockies. I for one do not think they will pull this off, because there are an abundance of obstacles in their way, and it would be something short of miraculous if they pulled this off.