Royals Get Back On Track Against Inferior League

Justin HackneyContributor IJune 14, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 12:  Starting pitcher Luke Hochevar #44 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds on June 12, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

A month ago, on May 8th, the Kansas City Royals were 18-11 and in first place in the AL Central.  They proceeded to lose the next six games and go into a month-long tailspin.  Goinginto Friday's game against the Reds, they had lost 23 of 30 games.  They have won the first two games of this series with effective pitching, hitting, and defense, all of which had been lacking over the previous month.

During the 30 game slump, all the things that had been working for the Royals during the first 30 games weren't nearly as effective.  They began looking like the Royals team of the past decade, who the majority of the time looked like they belonged in the minors.  This team has more talent then those teams. 

The rough stretch started on May 8th.  The Royals were on a six game winning streak and clicking on all cylinders.  They headed out on a quick five-game road trip to the West Coast.  They proceeded to be swept in fairly easy fashion in three by the Angels and two by the A's.  They returned home with their tails between their legs instead of with their chests puffed out like how they had left.  The struggles continued on a seven-game homestand against the last place Orioles and Indians.  They finished 3 and 4 on the homestand. 

In the first game against the Indians, one which I attended, the Royals had a miraculous ninth inning comeback and I thought things would turn around.  I was wrong.  The woes continued over the next several weeks with something different going wrong seemingly every game.  The Royals lost or tied 10 straight series during the stretch. 

Pitching which had been surprisingly solid during the first month, was woeful during May.  Even Greinke struggled over a couple starts showing that he is still human.  The only time our anemic offense got us a lead the bullpen would come in and quickly give it up.  Other times the defense would have huge mental lapses costing us a "W".  Hitting seems to be the only constant over the first two months.  Besides a few players, our offense has struggled over the first 1/3 of the season.  Situational hitting has been our biggest weakness with numerous opportunities to drive in runners from third with less than two outs going by the wayside.  The Royals have also struggled mightily in bases loaded situations.  I'm not sure what we're hitting but I know we've failed much more often than we've succeeded at getting the big hit. 

Hopefully the Royals can continue their little two-game winning streak and get on the kind of roll they began the season with.  After all the losing, the Royals are still only 6 and a half games out of first in the mediocre AL Central.  So although things have been rough the past month their is still hope.  Who knows, in a few months we may be right in the thick of the division race.