Royals’ success in one-run games much improved this season

Jarrod Dyson and the Royals have been money in close contests this season. 

Peter Aiken/Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals took three one-run affairs from the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. They are baseball’s most improved team this year in games decided by a single run.

Largest Win Percentage Improvement in One-Run Games, 2014-15

Team 2014 2015 Difference
Kansas City Royals .468 (22-25) .643 (18-10) +.175
Seattle Mariners .400 (18-27) .537 (22-19) +.137
Chicago Cubs .475 (19-21) .595 (25-17) +.120
Pittsburgh Pirates .517 (31-29) .632 (24-14) +.115

Something will have to give in this series, as the Detroit Tigers and Royals have the two best marks against division opponents in the American League.

Best Record vs. Division Opponents

Team Record
New York Mets 30-17 (.638)
St. Louis Cardinals 30-17 (.638)
Kansas City Royals 30-18 (625)
Detroit Tigers 29-18 (.617)
Los Angeles Dodgers 29-20 (.592)

The Tigers boast one of the best stables of right-handed hitters around, while the Royals’ left-handed swingers have gotten the job done all year long.

Tigers and Royals’ Team Batting Average by Handedness

  Average MLB Ranks
Tigers as RHB .287 Highest in MLB
Royals as LHB .284 Highest in MLB

When these teams last met just a few days ago, Ian Kinsler sent the Detroit fans home happy with a two-run walk-off home run. Kinsler has posted one of the highest career slugging percentages versus the Royals among active players.

Highest Career Slugging Percentage vs. Royals — Active Players

Player Slugging Percentage
Alex Rodriguez .644
Adrian Beltre .584
Grady Sizemore .566
Shin-soo Choo .533
Ian Kinsler .526

Kendrys Morales ranks in the top five in the AL in both doubles and RBIs while becoming only the fourth Royals player in history with at least 30 doubles and 80 RBIs through the season’s first 110 games. 

Royals with 30-Plus Doubles and 80-Plus RBIs Thru 110 Team Games, All Time

Year Player Doubles RBI
1982 Hal McRae 30 97
1988 George Brett 35 82
1999 Mike Sweeney 32 80
2015 Kendrys Morales 30 80

Kansas City’s Johnny Cueto has made seven straight starts without allowing a home run, the second longest streak of his career.

Most Consecutive Starts for Johnny Cueto with 0 Homers Allowed

Starts Dates
11 5/30/12 – 7/28/12
7 7/1/15 – 8/5/15 (active)
6 6/7/10 – 7/3/10
6 7/4/11 – 7/31/11
4 4/22/12 – 5/9/12
4 5/15/14 – 5/31/14