Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Return to the Throne?
With a little over a month left in the season, the most important races are becoming the Wild Card ones, as the division leaders are becoming pretty solidified (Cubs notwithstanding), and the guys on the bottom are realizing they still have a shot. Right now the AL Wild Card spots are being held by the New York Yankees, who, barring catastrophe, will be hanging onto it in September, and the Minnesota Twins, who've gotten hot again.
There are three, well, wild cards in this Wild Card race- the Angels, Royals and Mariners. They're the three guys who're still over .500, and still have a shot. The Angels have been getting hot as of late, and the Mariners have been receding backward. So where does that leave the Royals? Exactly where they want to be.
The Royals probably have one of the more complete teams of this race. The lineup is pretty on, with performances from Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Whit Merrifield and Lorenzo Cain that are definitely career highs, a nice return engagement from Melky Cabrera, a rejuvenated Salvador Perez, and some other cool bats in the bench. Yes, Alex Gordon and Brandon Moss are definitely disappointing people this season, but there's enough going on in the lineup that it's not a big loss.
The rotation's not bad either. Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas have strongheld things, while Jason Hammel has done slightly better than expected, and newcomer Jake Junis is slowly improving. Ian Kennedy and Eric Skoglund have had a few too many bad starts to really shine, but they're not truly bad.
This is a well-formed, solid squad that needs to get lucky in order to get back to the postseason. This luck may need to include some losses from the Angels and Twins, and maybe some more offensive streaks.
Coming Tonight: Speaking of Wild Cards, a guy that pitches for a great NL Central team that, thanks to the general meh-ness of the NL Central, might need to fight a bit harder than expected to nab a Wild Card spot.