In fact, doing a little math … it hasn’t happened since 2003, when the Royals actually led the Central on this exact date, but fell into second place that evening. They did go back into first the next day, fell back again, and pulled into a first-place tie at the end of the month.
It was all downhill from there, as the Royals went 13-17 the rest of the way and finished third, seven games behind the first-place Twins.
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It wasn’t for lack of trying, though! After the non-waivers trade deadline, they signed Kevin Appier and traded for Brian Anderson and Rondell White. Anderson and Appier combined for 11 starts and pitched decently — well, aside from their absurdly low strikeout rates — while White was terrific, driving in 21 runs in 22 games.
It just wasn’t nearly enough, not surprising considering that Darrell May was the Royals’ No. 1 starter (by a lot).
The 2014 Royals have MUCH better pitching, but MUCH worse hitting. Rondell White’s probably not available, but it sure does seem like the Royals need someone to take over in the DH slot, with Eric Hosmer on the shelf.
Granted, that means Billy Butler has to play first base every day, but there are more guys who can DH than guys who can play first base. So maybe they’re just stuck with Butler and a late-innings defensive replacement there.
So who’s the new Rondell White? It’s gotta be Marlon Byrd, no?