What to Watch for in the Royals Final 12 Games

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There are 12 games left in the 2016 season for the Kansas City Royals. Short of a miracle finish and a couple epic collapses by other teams, there will be no postseason baseball for this year’s squad. The reasons are many. But that’s for another article.

So what keeps the players going after 150 games and seven grueling months of baseball activity when postseason baseball is beyond a long shot? What keeps us fans interested in these (probably) meaningless contests down the stretch?

Confirmation of the second best run in team history

Believe it or not, the Royals have only once in team history finished above .500 for 4 straight seasons (six seasons from 1975-80). With at least a 5-7 finish, they can secure arguably the second best 4 year stretch in franchise history. Especially with the window still very much open in 2017, this could make a 5 year run very much at play.

 

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Individual Milestones

Say what you will regarding the party line that many ballplayers give about winning and putting the team first, these guys do care about their individual statistics. Agents really care about them. Even we as fans love to tout our favorite players’ statistic milestones.

Here are some that are in play.

kendrys

Kendrys Morales – 30 Homeruns – currently at 29

This would make him the first Royal to hit 30 or more homeruns in a season since Jermaine Dye in 2000. Let that sink in for a minute …

I fully expect #PulledPork to achieve this.

hosmer

Eric Hosmer – 100 RBI – currently at 97

That number shocked me. I didn’t figure he had driven in that many. It would be the first time in his career Hos has driven in triple digits.

Short of an injury, this should also be easily attained.

Jarrod Dyson – 30 Stolen Bases – currently at 28

30 steals isn’t some grand figure by any means, but Dyson is going to end up with just over 300 AB on the season. That would be roughly one stolen base per every 10 AB. And that ain’t bad.

Dyson may not play a lot over the next two weeks, but I would expect him to get enough AB to make this happen.

cuthbert

Cheslor Cuthbert – 30 doubles – currently at 27

Again, 30 doubles isn’t some hallmark achievement. But for a guy that was more or less just looked at as a place holder until Moose comes back, it would be a nice boon. He won’t catch his career high 37 he hit at A+/AA in 2013, but his 27 so far in 2016 is already the second most he’s hit in any year.

And oh yeah, it would lead the major league club in that category. Pretty damn impressive for a rookie.

Paulo Orlando – .300 batting average – currently at .296

Even for the Royals brass that have kept him in the system for a while, Paulo's batting average at the major league level has to be a pleasant surprise. After a white-hot start to the season, he has seen his average slowly fall over the past couple months. Playing time may be an issue here down the stretch as the team continues to evaluate Dozier and Burns in the outfield, but Paulo should get enough opportunities to pull the average back up over the .300 mark.

A 50/50 chance, I'd say.

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Alcides Escobar – 162 games played

Esky has been in the line up every game this year. Don’t expect that to change over the last couple weeks.

duffy

Danny Duffy – 200 Strikeouts – currently at 181

Duffy should get 2 more starts within the last 12 games, assuming the team doesn’t shut him down based upon his innings. He has pitched more than any prior year of his career, but at 169.2 IP, I don’t expect this to happen. 19 strikeouts over two games would be a pretty tall order, but Dufy has shown the stuff to do it this year.

Probably not gonna happen, but there is an outside chance.

 

Torii+Hunter+New+York+Yankees+v+Los+Angeles+JUk-VOuEZByl

Playing spoiler

We have 6 more games with the Indians, who currently hold a 7 game lead in the AL Central. We have 3 games with the Tigers, who sit 2.5 games back in the Wild Card. Whereas our games with the Indians probably won’t matter much in regards to them winning the AL Central, our 3 with Detroit could have a great impact on their potential playoff destiny.

 

playoffs

The very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very unlikely chance they will somehow sneak into the playoffs

Which is currently less than 1%.

 

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The ultimate goal may be out of the picture, but there are still many reasons for us to keep watching and going to ballpark over the next two-ish weeks.

Hold your heads high, Royals fans. Let’s show our team the love until the end.

 

 

 

 

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Author: Zach Hodson

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