After a miserable 3-12 start to the season, including an opening ten-game home stand that failed to produce a victory, the Royals have managed to find some stable ground. Despite the team's unexpected free fall in the opening month, the Royals have only spent seven days in the AL Central cellar through the quarter pole in the season.
If the rules of Major League Baseball were such that teams were discount their worst and best month of the season, leaving a winning percentage based on the cumulative record over the remaining four months, the Royals probably would do pretty well. But we all know that's not the way it works, so Kansas City cannot simply dismiss its poor start. The Royals can, however, do something about not allowing such a listless performance funk to recur again this season.
Just for fun, though, let's say the 2012 season started April 23, thus eliminating everything that happened prior to that time. If that were the case, Cleveland would still be leading the AL Central with a record of 17-12. The second-place team, though, would be Kansas City at 14-14, two and a half games back of the Indians. The Royals and the Indians would be the only two teams in the division at or above .500. The Chicago White Sox would be third at 13-16, followed by defending division champ Detroit, tied with Minnesota with identical records of 10-17, six full games off the pace.
What all this means is: The Royals, admittedly, aren't playing great baseball, but they have been playing good, competitive baseball, especially when they aren't at home at Kauffman Stadium, which for some inexplicable reason has been more of a curse than a blessing for the team this season. The Royals are 12-9 as a road team so far this season, but are an MLB-worst 5-17 in games played at The K. Had they been even 50 percent successful at home in their 22 home dates, the Royals would be just two games under .500 as the Memorial Day holiday approaches, traditionally one of the benchmarks for projecting the outcome of the MLB season.
For Royals fans who may be in need of something positive and promising with which to restore their faith and spirited following in their hometown Boys of Summer, here's a very conservative scenario to whet your appetite. If the Royals were to continue to play .500 baseball for the remainder of the season, and perhaps win four more games than they lose over that time, they would end the year at an even 82-82.
You have to admit, that would really be something - and well within the realm of probability - for a Royals team that started out the season going 3-12 and 0-10 at home.
Here are some more interesting Kansas City Royals numbers to feast your eyes and minds on:
.259 - Royals' team batting average, fourth best in the American League.
4 - Royals' longest winning streak this season (May 12-15).
8 - 2012 salary (in millions) of first baseman/DH Billy Butler, the highest-paid Royal.
11 - Where the Royals' 4.31 team ERA ranks among the 14 American League teams.
13 - Most runs given up by the Royals in one game this season (to Cleveland on April 15). The day before, Cleveland scored 11.
21 - Years ago this week that Royals' Hall-of-Famer Hal McRae replaced John Wathan as manager. McRae's record of 286-277 from 1991-94 was the last time a Royals' manager had a winning record.
21 - Number of wins for the Royals after 43 games in 2011. Kansas City's record was 21-22 at this time a year ago.
47 - Days until the 2012 MLB All-Star Game at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.
168 - Runs scored this year by the Royals, the fourth fewest in the American League.
22,831 - Average attendance this season in 22 dates at Kauffman Stadium, despite the Royals 5-17 home record. That average is eighth best in the American League.