If you’re looking to find the same Royals team who won the World Series just two years ago, you are going to be sadly mistaken. The Kansas City Royals failed to compete for the AL Central last season, following their World Series up with a dud.
The Royals have a grace period after winning the World Series. I’m not so certain Royals’ fans are going to complain all that much. After playing in the basement of the majors for well over a decade, they finally won a championship in 2015. It was their first since 1985, so the city was thirsty for a winning team and they got it.
The Royals followed it up with a record of 81-81 for 3rd in the AL Central. It was most certainly a fall from grace for them. The loss of Mike Moustakas early in the season was a blow, as it left a void in that lineup. Perhaps what they missed most is his presence and leadership. Moustakas is back in 2017, but he hasn’t changed much this season. He’s produced some pretty decent numbers, including 7 HRs and a .276 batting average.
Royal fans may want to enjoy the time left they have with him, because Moustakas is becoming a hot item in the trade market. The fact of the matter is that the Royals probably have to enter a bit of rebuilding mode here. I don’t see the point in signing Moustakas to a long-term deal, when he could yield something decent in return, and the Royals already got the most out of him in 2015. Additionally, Eric Hosmer may be on the ropes in Kansas City, too.
With a current record of 7-14, and Moustakas playing well enough, it might be best to part with the fan-favorite later this year. However, if the Royals make a push before the trade deadline and look like a contender, the odds of them being sellers probably goes down some. They need a win on Saturday to break out of an unfavorable eight-game losing streak, which includes a 1-9 record in their last ten outings. Yuck. They Royals will try and test the Minnesota Twins, following a 6-4 Twins’ win yesterday. Get our free Twins vs. Royals pick below.
Minnesota Twins vs. K.C. Royals Pick
Phil Hughes (3-1, 4.71 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (0-2, 5.30 ERA)
When the Royals won their World Series, they did it with timely, clutch hitting, and a bullpen that couldn’t be touched. A competent bullpen can be the difference between a winning and losing team. Since then, though, the clutch hitting has vanished and the bullpen has regressed. As a team, the Royals are 17th in the majors in pitching. They hold a 4.07 ERA, which is crazy to think about, considering how potent this unit was not that long ago.
Offensively, during this eight-game losing streak, they’ve scored 5 runs just once. It doesn’t take a math or statistics major to tell you that isn’t going hold up when the pitching has a 4.07 ERA.
Maybe they can take Saturday to get the offense back on track, though. They have a solid opportunity to do it against Phil Hughes. Hughes still has a starting job with the Twins, after posting a 5.95 ERA in 11 starts a year ago. Injuries slowed him down, of course, but he should feel thankful that he’s still hanging in there.
Hughes has posted an ERA of 4.71 overall, with a 6.00 ERA in his last three starts. Hammel enters with a 5.30 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. He lasted just 3 innings against the Rangers in his last showing. If the Royals can’t find a way to expose Hughes on Saturday, I have no hope for them this season. Here is there chance to get out of this offensive hole, let’s see if they can do it. In any case, I think both offenses will do enough to get this OVER the total.
PICK: OVER 8.5 (-110)