The Royals are continuing their winning ways after starting their homestand 2-0 against the Yankees. Greinke tossed an outstanding game in crappy weather conditions. Through seven games of this season, AccuScore.com has now more than quadrupled the odds of a KC playoff appearance (see article here) from their prediction before the season started. Do I think KC will make the playoffs? Not likely, but it's fun to dream.
Here are a few comparisons of this season to last...
This season they have improved to 6-2 while scoring 32 runs and allowing 18.
Through 8 games last season the Kansas City Royals were 3-5 and they had scored 26 runs and allowed 34.
Out of the first three series', the Royals have already won two.
Last season it took the Royals six series to win their first and fourteen to win their second.
The Royals have gotten to where they are right now on the backs of their number two and three starters. Here is the combined line for Bannister's and Greinke's statistics on the season so far:
4 starts, 4 wins, 27 innings pitched, 19 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 8 walks, 15 strikeouts, 1.00 ERA
With numbers like those, Kansas City can afford to have Meche throw a bad game or two (ERA of 6.94 through 2 starts), or handle Guillen getting off to an extremely slow start (batting average of .153 through 8 games). Those are the two highest paid Royals ($91 million worth of contract) that are off to a poor start on a team that is sitting atop the AL Central. Maybe this Royals team is actually a team and won't rely on any one player to bear the load, as was the philosophy of the previous GM.
Here are some team stats to back this up (through 8 games):
1 error committed (first in MLB) - innings are shorter, fewer chances to give opponents more baserunners and runs.
12 double plays turned (third in MLB) - it's easier to get out of innings when you erase baserunners and get two outs with a single pitch.
21 walks allowed (second in MLB) - if they don't out free passes, they're going to give up fewer runs... simple as that.
2.25 team ERA (first in MLB) - granted, they won't keep up this pace, but two seasons ago, their team ERA was 5.67 (last in MLB). Give that pitching coach a raise!
10 stolen bases (third in MLB) - move the runner from first to second and there will be fewer double plays, right?
1 double play (first in MLB) - yep, see previous item.
Offensively, the team is still on the low side of runs scored compared to the league and they have very little power, but Guillen and Pena Jr., are effectively non-existent so far, and that's over 20% of the lineup. If Guillen heats up (0 HR on the season) and Pena Jr., can figure out how to make contact (0 hits in last 20 at bats), maybe this team could be a contender. They've been in (even had the lead) every game this season. In their six victories, they have only allowed a total of 8 runs (that includes shutouts of Tigers and Yankees). In their two losses, the gave up 10 runs but scored seven. I guess their mentality is: mediocre offense is all you need when you have stellar pitching. Whatever works, just keep winning, the city of KC will be ecstatic!
NOTE: As I mentioned before - Megan and I are headed out to the K for Saturday's game. Gameday forecast - high of 43, low of 31, chance of snow. What the hell, it's April. Oh, and does the sun ever shine here? I have officially forgotten.
NOTE #2: After writing the comment in NOTE #1, the sun did shine... for about one hour, then it hailed. I should have kept my mouth shut.