The division-leading Chicago White Sox left Kansas City with their proverbial tail between their legs. No doubt thinking they would pick up a few wins at Kaufman Stadium, Salvador Perez and company brought out the brooms with a three-run eighth inning today and swept the White Sox out of town.
Jeremy Guthrie had a no-hitter late in the game and suddenly the Royals are no longer a team you can write off.
As the South Siders lick their wounds, the Royals can now find themselves in a nice new position. They are no longer basement dwellers or even a fourth-place team. As of this writing, they have leap-frogged the once contending Cleveland Indians and are in third place.
Granted, it is not a position of contention. Despite the sweep of the White Sox, they remain 11 games behind Chicago in the standings. They are 12 games under .500 and have a record worse than any team in the American League East and West.
Still, there is a matter of symbolic pride in being ahead of the Indians and Twins, the teams that won 13 of the first 17 American League Central titles.
Since the first completion of the three-division format in 1995, the Royals have finished in third place or better for a grand total of three times.
A third-place finish and avoiding 90 losses will mean the Royals would have improved each year since their dreadful 65-97 campaign in 2009.
Granted, that's not exactly a scenario that will whip Kansas City into a frenzy. For a team that has posted a sub .500 record in all but one full season since George Brett retired, it shows that perhaps they are moving in the right direction. Fifth in 2010. Fourth in 2011. If they finished third in 2012, then maybe second will not be that far off.
Dare Kansas City dream of first?
Be happy with third right now.