The Kansas City Royal don’t have much to feel good about this season, but it was a successful weekend for them. They swept the Orioles over the weekend to advance to 45-91. Advancing to 45-91 isn’t anything to celebrate, though. The Royals won a World Series in 2015, which feels like forever ago now that we watch this Royals team. It makes that World Series win feel like a decade ago, but Royals’ fans can still go back only a few years if they want to relive what it was like to be a champion.
Because of that, I think the Royals have some leeway with their fan base. If they don’t show any signs of improvement over the next couple of years, there might be some grumblings. However, most people realize that the Royals are in a rebuilding phase. They were in a “rebuilding phase” for a long time before they finally figured it out a few years ago.
The Royals had their first winning season in ten years in 2013. They went 83-79 in 2003 for their best year since going on a nice run for a few years. Royals fans are hoping they don’t have to wait another decade before they see a season above .500. This season doesn’t provide much confidence that it’s going to be a quick fix for the Royals, though.
When they were on top of the baseball world, they had a heck of a bullpen to anchor that pitching staff. A bullpen that ranks at the top of the majors will go far in the postseason and that’s exactly what the Royals did. Fast forward to today and the Royals’ bullpen is a liability. They take on an Indians squad who have been waiting for the postseason to start for over two months now. The Tribe are coming off a 6-4 loss on Sunday against the Rays. Head below for our free Royals vs. Indians pick.
K.C. Royals vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
Jakob Junis (7-12, 4.53 ERA) vs. Adam Plutko (4-4, 4.94 ERA)
The Royals were looking for a sweep over the Indians a week ago, but Cleveland woke up and won a 12-5 decision. They’ve looked kind of bored as we head into the final stretch of the regular season. It’s hard not to blame him with their 14-game lead in the American League Central. The Indians have played well this season, but you’d think they are the best team in the majors with that whopping gap.
They’ve played well for sure, but you have to take into consideration how badly everyone else has played. The Twins are 2nd with a record of 63-73. In other words, the Indians could be nine games under .500 and still be 1st in the division. The Tribe have made it work with a bullpen that ranks 25th in the majors with an ERA of 4.78.
The bats have been hitting this season, though, with an average of 5.05 runs per game for 3rd in the major leagues. I’d say they are the most underrated offense in baseball, and they just added Josh Donaldson from the Blue Jays. He didn’t sound too enthusiastic about leaving Toronto, but he does join a club that will be in the postseason in a month.
The Jays are hitting .284 against Junis with an OBP of .333. He has to look out for Francisco Lindor, who is hitting .600 against him with 3 deep balls. Junis goes into Cleveland with a 4.55 ERA and 1.41 WHIP on the road. In his last outing against the Indians, he got shellacked for 8 hits and 9 runs in 5.1 innings.
Junis and the Royals fell 9-3 in that contest back on July 2nd. Royals’ starters haven’t had much relief help this season, because of a bullpen that has a 5.20 ERA for 29th in the majors. Second-year pitcher, Adam Plutko, heads into tonight with an ERA of 5.40 in his last three tilts. He should be adequate against the Royals, but not enough to keep this total from going OVER the total.