Each team has a player that is their spark plug. It may not always be the best player and most certainly is rarely it’s highest paid player. For the Kansas City Royals that player is none other than outfielder Lorenzo Cain.
Cain missed 25 games in July with a hamstring injury, coming off the disabled list on July 29th. In the 25 games Cain missed, the Royals went 9-14 as they spiraled out of the playoff picture. This made it pretty clear how important Cain is to this team. The Royals are 10-6 since Cain’s return, currently sitting 7.5 games out of the second wild card spot with a 59-60 record.
Since returning to the lineup, Cain, who is usually slotted third in the lineup, is batting is .273, with a .288 OBP, .652 OPS, and 9 RBIs in the month of August. No hit was bigger than the 14th inning walk-off hit against the Chicago White Sox on August 10th. Cain comes back to a lineup that desperately needed hitting, as the only other players hitting over .280 this season are Paulo Orlando and Cheslor Cuthbert.
The 30 year-old is perhaps best pure hitter on the Royals, with the honors either going to him or 2015 World Series MVP Eric Hosmer. Cain had the best season of his career last year, hitting .307, 16 home runs, 72 RBIs, stealing 28 bases, and being named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
The Royals are beginning a late season playoff push, going 8-2 in their last 10, including beating the Tigers in back-to-back games. Cain had the best game since returning on Sunday, recording four hits and driving in three in an 11-4 win against the Twins.
To come full circle, Cain proved that he is indeed the spark plug for the Royals. In Monday’s big win against the Tigers in Detroit, Cain set the table with two hits, two walks, and a big insurance RBI in the 9th in the 3-1 victory. Even though the Royals wish they had a better record at this point of the season, the season isn’t dead. With Cain back in the fold and 43 games remaining, the Royals still can make things interesting coming down the stretch.
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