Sideline Report: Why the Royals winning now might not end in a World Series ring


Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

Photo from the Kansas City Royals

Welcome back to the Sideline Report, where I get to discuss one of my favorite topics: sports. I’m so glad you decided to humor me by reading my thoughts and probably completely disagree with my take on the Chiefs, Royals or some other hot topic of debate. I hope you decide to follow the Sideline Report this year as I give my opinions on some interesting topics in the wide world of sports.

Here we go.

For the record, I love the Kansas City Royals and want nothing more for them to get back to World Series this October and actually win the whole darn thing. So far, they have the best record in the American League and are proving to be one of the best teams in baseball.

The problem is, the best team in baseball doesn’t usually end up with hardware at the end of the season. It’s pretty difficult to get to the postseason, let alone win it all.

The Royals are a quality team this year with impact players and the will to win. They have proven time and time again that they can beat any team that dares to compete with them. Lineups have changed quite often under manager Ned Yost this season, especially with additions like utility player Ben Zobrist and pitcher Johnny Cueto, as well as setbacks such as left fielder Alex Gordon’s groin injury. Nonetheless, they win by pitching well, timely hitting and defensive showcases.

Now after hearing all of that, you’re probably wondering how on earth this team can’t just storm through the postseason behind guys like designated hitter Kendrys Morales (90 RBIs), first baseman Eric Hosmer (.311 avg, 77 RBIs) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (.312 avg, 12 home runs, 58 RBIs). This team can’t be stopped can it?

Well, the answer is yes. There are multiple reasons as to why this team could fall in October, but let’s attack one aspect at a time.

First, the pitching is susceptible to giving up runs. This rotation has holes at the back end, with left hander Danny Duffy (7-6, 4.11 ERA) right hander Yordano Ventura (9-7, 4.41 ERA) and right hander Kris Medlen (3-0, 3.51 ERA) all showing instability in throughout the season. Granted Medlen has a small sample size of starts, but Duffy and Ventura have looked both amazing and terrible in the span of a couple starts. The duo give up home runs and just can’t seem to stay consistent enough to hold down a starting spot.

Even with the starting rotation struggling to keep the score down, the bullpen has looked strong. Wade Davis, Ryan Madson, Franklin Morales, Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera and Luke Hochevar have all looked amazing this year. But recently they have failed sustain a lead and strand opposing base runners. This is actually the group that I have the most confidence in, but they just need to simply get batters out. This hasn’t been a huge issue, but could rear it’s ugly head late in a game in the postseason.

The hitting has been solid, but there are some holes in the lineup. Hosmer, Cain, Morales and third baseman Mike Moustakas have stayed fairly consistent this year. But players like right fielder Alex Rios, second baseman Omar Infante, catcher Salvador Perez and even shortstop Alcides Escobar have gone on some pretty bad stretches at the plate this year. It hasn’t been doom and gloom from a hitting perspective, but the Royals have been susceptible to droughts and inability to score runs. Hopefully a stretch such as Infante not having any RBIs for almost two months doesn’t happen in the playoffs.

Finally, there are some really good teams in the AL. Hitting powerhouses like the Toronto Blue Jays or teams with pitching prowess like the Houston Astros could come up against the Royals and cause some problems. Even the New York Yankees or Texas Rangers could prove to be the end of the Royals season. The Royals can beat all of these teams, but these teams can hit and the Yankees and Astros have stellar bullpens. Our worst match-up is against the Blue Jays since they’re hitting home runs like they’re going out of style and if it turns into a scoring melee, we could see the Blue Jays advance instead of a certain Kansas City team.

Once again, I would like to say that I want the Royals to succeed and I have high expectations for them as they sit 30+ games above .500. They will more than likely have amazing postseason success and I will totally be watching every second of the 2015 playoffs as the Royals try to repeat as AL champions. I just want fans to realize how hard it is to get to the top and what stands in the way from the Royals being the 2015 World Series champions.

Whatever happens, it’s been a great ride so far and the Royals are ready to face any team that stands in their way.

Junior Braden Shaw is a passionate sports fan who follows sports at both the college and professional level. He loves to defend his unpopular opinions on the University of Nebraska, Sporting KC, Chiefs and Royals and is always up for a debate over any game or team.

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