Now it’s news when the Royals aren’t in first place
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals are in an unfamiliar position, at least for this season. They are out of first place.
By dropping a 2-1 extra-innings game to the Cubs on Sunday afternoon, the Royals fell out of first place as the calendar flipped to June. The scorching Twins now lead Kansas City by half a game in the American League Central, the first time the Royals have sunk to second place since May 8.
Through the season’s first 48 games, Kansas City is tied for the second-best record in franchise history, but do not own the best record in the division. Some have judged teams through the first two months of the season, but what do the standings say?
Here’s a look:
• In the last five seasons, of the 30 teams that have led their division at the end of May, only 13 won the division at the end of the year. Overall, 19 teams made the playoffs.
• Last season, only three of the six division leaders made the playoffs, with Detroit the only team to win their division. Oakland and San Francisco snagged wild-card spots after leading their division at the end of May.
Toronto, Atlanta and Milwaukee all missed the playoffs. These six teams went a combined 198-135 (.595) in the first two months and 312-327 (.488) the rest of the way.
• In each of the last five seasons, the collective winning percentage of May’s division leaders has gone down for the remainder of the season. Last season was the first time the teams’ remaining winning percentage dipped below .500.
• In the last five seasons, Kansas City is the only AL Central club to not lead the division at the end of May.