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Monday, October 5, 2015

KC Royals Playoffs Bound 2015

The Kansas City (KC) Royals are headed to the Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs for the second year in a row. This year is even sweeter as they are the 2015 American League (AL) Central champs rather than a wild card. That guarantees at least three games rather than the one game play in the wild card teams have to gut out.

The offense is much better this season with Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas taking their games to the next level. Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon had steady seasons even with Gordon being derailed by the DL. Kendrys Morales was a huge upgrade to Billy Butler. Alcides Escobar, Jarod Dyson and Omar Infante have fallen off from last year but the pick up of Ben Zobrist helped make up for the last one.

The pitching staff had an identity crisis after James Shields headed west as it left a vacuum for an ace. Yordano Ventura started off rocky but answered the wake up call after his yo-yo ride to the minors. Jeremy Guthrie could not repeat his unheralded performance from last year and was extremely hittable. Edinson Volquez proved to be a good pick up and challenged to be the ace but sputtered down the stretch. Danny Duffy never found the dominance he had before his 2014 injury. Kris Medlen on the other hand has been solid since returning from his elbow injury that had sidelined him with the Braves for all of 2014. Johnny Cueto has people shouting bust rather than being the ace he was rented to be. The bullpen has been nearly as stellar but the elbow of Greg Holland finally gave out after one too many heart attack performances. That bumps the capable Wade Davis to be closer, Kelvin Herrera to the 8th and Ryan Madson to the 7th. Herrera has been struggling over the past 30 plus and that is troubling.

As hot as the Royals were in the 2014 playoffs they have been the opposite down the final stretch to close out 2015. After racing out to such a big lead in the AL Central they have started to run out of gas with a 10-17 September. That has allowed the red hot Toronto Blue Jays to edge past with the best record in the American League. Only a handful of games through Sunday with home field advantage at stake. Unless the Royals get hot and the Blue Jays falter it will be the Royals and Texas Rangers in the divisional series. That may be the more favorable match up to get their confidence and mojo back on track.

(Editor's note: Kansas City Royals fans follow population-we™ (pop-we) contributor John Bohan as he blogs about the KC Royals playoff journey at Baseball Me Love. This article originally appeared in an Sept. 30th Baseball Me Love blog post.)

-population-we™ blog post by John Bohan
© 2015 population-we, LLC 
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