The Kansas City Royals are a struggling franchise. In the past six years, the Royals have barely, if that even, kept their head above water by winning only 390 games to their 582 losses, with only one of those six seasons above the .500 mark (2003).
In recent years, the World Series Champions have all been well over that same .500 mark at home. Winning at home is the road to glory for playoff-bound teams. The Royals, on the other hand, have struggled to meet that requirement and only once, again in 2003, did they meet that requirement.
Along with winning at home, one-run games have been a thorn in the Royals' side. In the past six years, the Royals have only won one-run games 40 percent of the time. These close-game losses can be attributed to the pitching, or lack there of in the Royals organization.
All the Royals need to do to find their way to success is catch a glimpse of the Tampa Bay Rays. At home this year, the Rays have been outstanding, with a record of 24-10, and they are 10-7 in one-run games. These numbers, along with being in the top five in nine different pitching categories at home, have put the Rays in a solid position; second place in the intimidating AL East.
Kansas City is on the right path, with vast improvements over the last couple of years, but change still needs to be made. Pitching results have been much like a roller coaster ride at the local theme park, and hitting is all but absent.
The Royals need to focus on keeping the hit totals down. Base on balls are the Royals strong point this season, allowing only 199 total walks, which puts them in a tie with the Yankees for eighth place.
Look for some upcoming trades in the Royals' organization to improve the pitching staff for seasons to come. And assuming the Rays stay on pace, look for them to be the World Series champs in 2008.