Tonight is the last Royals home game, which is too bad, and when's the last time anybody thought that?
The Kansas City Star
This post deals only with what’s happened to the Royals since July 19, and right up front, we should all recognize that there is a small bit of statistical (and emotional) shellgame involved. Most notably, we start with July 19 because it is the beginning of a four-game win streak, and the Royals lost seven of their previous nine.
So keep that in mind.
But also keep this in mind: the Royals are 30-29 since that day, which is better than the Red Sox and the other three teams in the AL Central that don’t have Justin Verlander.
The Royals have done this with the youngest team in baseball, by a strong margin, and with those particularly young players doing most of the heavy lifting. Take a look:
*Eric Hosmer, *who turns 22 next month, is batting .343/.382/.525.
Billy Butler, 25, is batting .298 with 13 homers and 15 doubles and 51 RBIs. Only four players have more homers and only one has more RBIs in the American League.
Alex Gordon, 27, is batting .314 with 30 walks and 33 extra-base hits. Only three players have more extra-base hits in the American League.
Jeff Francoeur, 27, is batting .320 with 25 doubles while seeing the most pitches of his career. Nobody in baseball has more doubles.
Salvador Perez, who at 21 as far as I can tell can be safely called one of the 10 youngest catchers to debut in two decades, is batting .339.
Luke Hochevar, 27, is 6-3 with a 3.73 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 21 walks over 71 2/3 innings.
There are still bits to clean up. All this offense and the Royals are still just seventh in the AL in runs over this period, and ahead of only Baltimore in runs given up.
They need a starting pitcher (or two), the talented group of relievers needs to find consistency, and most important, this bunch of potential star position players needs to keep improving.
But this is the most optimistic I think people in and around the organization have been in September in a really long time.
That’s a far different thing than being ready to celebrate, but it is a start.
And it’s obvious that Kansas City is paying attention, too, because more than 27,000 showed up on a Tuesday night. They know they only have one more chance to see what might just be the most promising Royals team in years.