Royals' hot August sparks memories of proud Augusts gone by
Is Royals' August giving you a deja vu? Here's how this one (so far) aligns with their three best ever.
By SEAN KEELERFS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. --
Don't get crazy or anything, but here's a fun stat: Through August 11, the Kansas City Royals had won as many games in the month (eight) as they had over all of August in 1999 -- and they've already passed August 2008 (seven wins for the month) and August 2005 (five).
Over the last 25 seasons, August for the Royals has gone a little like the song "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and The News: Some years, it made you weep; others, it made you sing. Since 1988, the Royals have been either five games (or more) above .500 or five games (or more) below .500 for the month 16 times. When things have gone bad, August, more often than not, made 'em worse. But when things have gone good, it's been very good indeed ...
Standing at the start of the month: Second in AL West, 1 game back
Record at the end of the month: 77-55
Standing at the end of the month: First in AL West, 1.5 games up on the California Angels
What happened in the middle: Frank White went nuts, hitting for the cycle on August 3 in a 6-5 win over Detroit. All-Star lefty Larry Gura had a 5-1 record for the month, including a seven-hit shutout victory over the Tigers in Motown on August 14. The club ended August by winning seven of its last eight, including a 6-1 road swing through Texas and Chicago.
Season result? Second in AL West, 3.0 games back of the Angels
:02 ... 1989
Record for the month: 21-8 (.724)
Record at the start of the month: 57-47
Standing at the start of the month: Third in AL West, 6.0 games back of the Angels
Record at the end of the month: 78-55
Standing at the end of the month: Second in AL West (tie), 2.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics
What happened in the middle: Jim Eisenreich went off. And off. And off. The Minnesota native hit .402 in August, ripped 10 doubles, slugged .659 and rolled up a 1.095 OPS, helping the club string together a nine-game winning streak from August 15-23. A sweep of Detroit at home to end the month lifted the Royals alone into second place. John Wathan's men would get within 1.5 games of the Bash Brothers on September 1, but that was as close as they'd come the rest of the way.
Season result? Second in AL West, 7.0 games back of the Athletics
:01.5 ... 1980
Record for the month: 23-7 (.767)
Record at the start of the month: 62-39
Standing at the start of the month: First in AL West, 12.0 games up on the Athletics
Record at the end of the month: 85-46
Standing at the end of the month: First in AL West, 20.0 games up on the Athletics
What happened in the middle: George Brett went supernova. The Hall of Famer went 4-for-4 against Toronto on August 17 to push his batting average over the .400 mark (.401) for the first time all season. From August 6-30 -- deep breath -- Brett hit .469, slugged.673, and OPS-ed at an absurd clip of 1.200. Hal McRae wasn't too shabby, either -- a .366 average in August, a .598 slugging percentage and a 1.009 OPS. An eight-game winning streak and a five-game winning streak pushed an already-massive lead in the division race into the stratosphere.
Season result? First in AL West, 14.0 games up on the Athletics. Culminated in the first AL pennant and World Series appearance in club history, where they fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.
:01 ... 2013
Record for the month: 8-3 (.727)
Record at the start of the month: 53-51
Standing at the start of the month: Third in AL Central, 7.0 games back, 4.5 back of the second wild-card slot
Record at the end of the month: To be determined
Standing at the end of the month: TBD
What's happened after two weeks: Three series played, three series victories -- including an impressive three-wins-out-of-four over the weekend from the East-leading Boston Red Sox. Over the first 10 games of the month, first baseman Eric Hosmer hit .386 in 44 at-bats, slugged .523 and posted a .927 OPS.
Season result? TBD. But, brother, it's hard to argue with the trend lines so far.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at email@example.com.