Worst To First…We’re Going Streaking!

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17 Games.

17 Games ago the Royals players found out there are repercussions for their actions, or maybe lack their of.  Players who thought their positions were safe, or their at bats only affected their averages were shaken up.  The saying “reality check” is often over used (as is half my vocabulary) but seems to be the best way to explain the sudden accountability the Royals players are realizing.

And as much as we like to blame coaches and managers, it always comes down to “Players gotta Play.”

AND THEY HAVE!

In 17 games the Royals have gone from 6.5 games back and in last place in the A.L Central, to First place after dismantling two of the best pitchers in the gamel.

Currently the Royals are on a 9 game winning streak, their longest since last years similar run in late July and early August.  It has put us in first place on June 17th.  This seems pretty early in the season, and insignificant.  Oh contraire bon jour….This is the latest into a season the Royals have been in first place since August 29th….2003!  Almost 11 years ago.

What gives?  Glad you asked…here is some knowledge for you.

.                       First 52 games                                 Last 17 games

Avg.                     .251                                                      .286

Runs/Game          3.8                                                         5.5

XBH/Game           2.4                                                         3.4

Avg. RISP            .240                                                      .360

Walk %                5.7%                                                      7.5%

And for the life of me I can’t find the numbers but just from the eye test it is apparent this team has decided to take more pitches, which for a team ranked last in pitchers per plate appearance is a must.

To go along with pitch selection, the swing selection has also changed.  The Royals won a game by scoring 4 runs.  Not a big deal, until you realize each of those runs came by way of sacrifice fly.  Something never seen during our lifetime.  Swing plane and pitch selection go hand in hand, and I don’t know if it is the “Talking to” that GMDM gave the team during the Padres Series, or the boys finally buying into this hitting concept, but it truly has changed the offensive outcome of these games.

By no means can we start clearing a spot for the World Series Trophy, but the Royals are currently on a ten game pace better than anyone in the A.L.  The second best pace is 6-4 shared by the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels.

And with this current streak even the guy that calls Scrooge McDuck a frivolous spender, David Glass, has told Dayton Moore he can expand the payroll if needed.

This must explain why the Royals scouting department was seen in Miami last night watching Jeff “the Shark” Samardzija pitch last night.

Maybe this feeling of jaded “We are the Royals…we will blow it” just started to get replaced with mid-season optimism!!!

This Royals team is streaking!  All the way through the A.L. Central and to the Gymnasium!  The only real question is, can they stop at KFC on the ride home!

 

photo credit: Jeff Croft via photopin cc

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