Royals Living That Fantasy
June, 18, 2014
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Duane BurlesonBilly Butler and Eric Hosmer, right, are raking for the red-hot Royals.The Royals have taken no prisoners so far in their series in Detroit, battering Tigers aces Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer for a collective 17 earned runs in just 10 innings (15.30 ERA) en route to seizing first place in the AL Central. This is the latest in a season in which Kansas City sits atop its division for the first time since 2003.
On Tuesday, the Royals extended their winning streak to nine games -- tied for their longest since the strike-shortened 1994 season -- by hammering the Tigers 11-4. That was the second straight 11-run output for a red-hot offense that has scored six or more runs in five consecutive contests, their longest stretch since 2002.
Kansas City has now won 12 of its 15 games in June for an .800 win pct. Over the full month, that would be far and away the best June in a proud franchise history that once featured the likes of George Brett, Willie Wilson and Bret Saberhagen but has been absent from the postseason for nearly three decades.
Getting Into The Swing With SveumAll of that offense seems to stem from a change in hitting coaches. On May 29, Kansas City relieved hitting coach Pedro Grifol of his duties, reassigning him to the position of catching instructor. In his place stepped former Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who has worked magic with what was inarguably the worst offensive team in the AL, turning them into an offensive juggernaut.
Prior to Sveum’s arrival, Kansas City ranked last in the AL in runs scored and slugging percentage and were 14th in on-base percentage. Since then, KC’s attack has been nearly off the charts, ranking first in the junior circuit in runs, while coming up second in the other two.
During this streak the franchise-cornerstone trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler have combined for seven home runs. In the team’s previous 61 games they managed a total of six home runs. Moustakas even found himself in Triple A for an eight-game stint to straighten out a swing that has had his batting average under .180 all season.