KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Five observations on the current state of the Royals.
FINALLY, SOME OFFENSE
We’ve been saying all year that the Royals have a simple formula for winning.
They hit. They win.
And the Royals don’t have to hit or score much. When the Royals simply score four runs or more, they have an amazing 39-9 record, which tells how good their pitching has been.
During the Royals’ present nine-game winning streak, the offense hasn’t exactly been world-beaters. But it has been at least average, which is all this pitching staff requires.
During this winning streak, the Royals are averaging 4.6 runs a game. The league average is 4.5.
They have hit seven homers, 14 doubles and three triples. Their on-base percentage is a respectable .330.
Once again, what we’re seeing is an offense that doesn’t have to mash the ball to win. It just has to avoid being horrible, which is what the Royals’ offense had been most of the season.
Now, though, the Royals’ offense is finally carrying its weight, and you’re seeing the results — a winning baseball team.
GUTSY FROM GUTS
I found it interesting that right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who goes by the Twitter handle of “TheRealJGuts,” suggested that the Royals’ 4-3 win Wednesday night was one of the gutsiest wins he’d ever been associated with.
Guthrie made that assessment because of the incredible job Aaron Crow did to save the lead in the eighth inning, the fantastic job Greg Holland did to hold on in the ninth, the highlight-reel play catcher Salvador Perez made on a Twins bunt earlier in the game, the clutch hitting from Billy Butler, who won a long duel with Caleb Thielbar and cracked an RBI single in the eighth, and so on and so on.
It seemed every Royal stepped up at some point and contributed to the win, including Guthrie, who struck out Pedro Florimon with the bases loaded and two out in the sixth. Florimon had homered his previous at-bat.
As Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after the game, “They’re just hot. They are really into their games right now.”
Many fans and bloggers weren’t too thrilled when the Royals signed Miguel Tejada during the offseason, but give Dayton Moore and his scouts credit for taking a chance on a 39-year-old infielder just based on his performance in winter ball.
Tejada has been solid all season in a limited role, and now he gets the chance to play every day with Chris Getz on the disabled list. He’s certainly a massive offensive upgrade from Getz, and while Miggy’s range isn’t great, the Royals should be able to protect him somewhat by cheating Eric Hosmer over from first and Alcides Escobar from short.
SMART MOVE BY NED
A club official told me recently that Ned Yost and his staff made a smart move at the All-Star break by setting up the rotation a little differently so that Wade Davis would draw what on paper would seem the easier matchups the rest of the season.
Davis got the White Sox last Saturday, gets the Mets tonight, gets the Twins next Wednesday, misses the four-game set against the Red Sox, and then gets the weak-hitting Marlins on Aug. 12. His next tough assignment will be the Tigers that same week. But then he will get the Nationals, Twins and Mariners in his three starts after that.
“One rainout could blow all that up,” the official said, “but it gives him a chance to get his confidence back.”
On the subject of scheduling, the Royals won’t have another tough stretch until September, and it will be a doozy. From Sept. 6-22, the Royals will play six games each against the Tigers and the Indians, and then three with Texas. Get the feeling that stretch will decide their playoff fate?
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.