The Royals are Slumping, But It’s No Reason To Panic…. Yet.

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Baseball is very much a “What have you done for me lately?” sport, and it’s easy to get caught up in the “here and now” that is Major League Baseball. Right here and now, the Royals offense is a major, major problem. Of course, the bigger picture looks brighter, but it’s doom and gloom in Kansas City, and has been for the last two weeks.

Since May 23rd, the Royals have scored more than one run in a game just twice. Call it a “prolonged slump” if you want. Call it a “cold stretch” if you please. Call it whatever you want, but this offense right now is downright awful. They’ve hit just .219 (7 for 32)  with RISP in a span of seven games, and have left 45 men on base during the same stretch. They’re out of their element. They seem to have gone dead in two-out RBI situations, and have only five stolen bases in the month of May.

This is not a team that hits home runs. They don’t have crazy power like Detroit or the Yankees (whatever). They will beat you with speed and defense, and right now, one of those things are lacking, and it’s the latter.

Getting their full-time right fielder back should’ve helped, but he’s yet to record a hit in seven at-bats since coming off of his rehab assignment, and appears to be a defensive downgrade over Paulo Orlando in the outfield. There’s always a timing issue when coming back from an injury for as long as he was out, especially with his hand, so there’s nothing to be too concerned about with Rios.

There is one, particularly large, elephant in the room. I don’t mean Danny Duffy’s mental state, or even Jeremy Guthrie and the fact that everyone and their brother thinks he needs to be moved to the pen so he can ruin that too.

Omar Infante is the biggest problem on the Royals 25-man roster right now. If he is really needing shoulder surgery like they say he is, then he needs to go ahead and have it. He’s not getting any better, and it’s certainly not helping the team. His line for this year is .226/.236/.321 with 17 RBI’s. In 2014, Infante also failed to record an OBP of .300, and ended up with just 66 RBI’s, and he’s on pace to record even less than that.

Looking elsewhere in the lineup, the job of a leadoff hitter isn’t to swing at the first pitch of almost every at-bat. The job of a leadoff hitter is to take pitches and get on base. It’s not so much of a problem when the team is producing runs, but Alcides Escobar is not a good solution for the leadoff hitter. An ideal lineup, for the time being, would be to bat Alex Gordon leadoff, keep Mike Moustakas in that two spot where he seems to be thriving, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales, Salvador Perez, Alex Rios, Omar Infante, and Alcides Escobar.

Albert Einstein always said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Ned Yost isn’t quite at that level, but he’s getting there.

It’s way too soon to talk about playoffs still, but the Kansas City Royals will be fine. Yes, they’re struggling right now. Yes, they’ve fallen out of first place. Yes, they are a bit out of their element. This is the same team that was down 7-3 to Jon Lester in the seventh inning of the Wildcard game. To count them out now because of a cold stretch would be ludicrous. They need to make sure that they don’t keep going at the rate they’re going. They have to make a change right now if they want to start winning again.

Remember: They're a second half team.

 

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Author: Sarah Davis

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