If you had asked any baseball fan just two weeks ago, the idea of the Royals contending in the AL Central would have been immediately dismissed.
That was before Trey Hillman was fired as manager, with former Brewers skipper Ned Yost taking over. Since then, the Royals have played inspired baseball.
Despite the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers being considered the class of the Central, the Royals are still very much in the hunt. After all, if the Royals aren’t considered contenders at this point, how can the Red Sox — 6 1/2 games back — be considered contenders?
But the question isn’t if the Royals are currently contenders. It’s if it can last.
Kansas City ranks seventh out of 14 AL teams in runs scored, ahead of AL Central foes in Detroit and Chicago. The team ERA is 13th at 4.59, dead last in the AL Central. And finally, fielding: the Royals have made just 33 errors which places them fifth in the league behind only Detroit from the AL Central.
Given the team rankings, it’s no surprise that the Royals, currently 21-28, can be considered contenders. However, it’s rare that a team with a negative run differential can contend and Kansas City is at minus-24 in that mark. After all, if you allow more runs than you score, you are generally not going to win games. (Boston is plus-10, fourth-best in the AL East, which also is reflected in their fourth-place standing as of Saturday.)
So, as Alec from Pittsfield wants to know, can the Royals make a push? Text “SOX1” to 542542 if the answer is yes; text “SOX2” to 542542 if the team cannot.