Thursday, June 16, 2016
It's Not Exactly a Cakewalk for the Royals
If you're a team that gets to the World Series two years in a row, the possibilities for the third year might seem pretty defined- just get back there again, only keep the guys that are succeeding and throw in some new blood.
However, for the Kansas City Royals...it might be a bit tougher than that. Right now they're tied for 1st with the Indians, and are struggling to stay afloat in an AL race dominated by hot teams like the Rangers, Red Sox and Orioles.
The main problem with this team, I'm sad to say, is the fact that the two factors that pushed them over the edge last year are gone. Ben Zobrist was an infield upgrade that cemented the lineup and brought a lot more edge to a HR-friendly group. Johnny Cueto was a surefire starter into the playoffs, and gave people like Chris Young and Yordano Ventura some power just by being there. Both of them are now playing for surging NL teams, leaving the Royals to do what they can with what they had before the deadline last year.
I'm not gonna gloss over who they did bring in- Ian Kennedy's doing a great job in the rotation, and giving Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando full-time outfield commitments was a smart move. But Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas are injured, and the pitchers that did so well last year are struggling.
The Royals are a great team, but...their problem is that's all they are this year. A great team. They don't have too many factors to push them over the edge, to make them a phenomenal team. Yes, Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain are all pretty damn great, but they don't have many elements that can secure them time in October, unless they get really lucky down the stretch, or the guys on the DL come back in full force.
The Royals of 2015 were fantastic, and deserved that championship. The 2016 Royals need a ton of work to get to where they were last year.
Coming Tonight- The only pitcher worth mentioning in Cincinnati.