Royals First Half Breakdown
The Kansas City Royals have reached the halfway point at 42-39. The season thus far has been a let down, for me at least.
The Royals headed into May at 14-12, but things would head south. Kansas City would saunter through the month winning a mere twelve games. They would need to have a miraculous turn around if they were going to fulfill the expectations of the fans.
Just like last year, Kansas City would have a very hot June. Your Boys in Blue would go 16-9. During June, the Royals found themselves out of the huge hole they dug themselves into, and even in first place for a few games.
They have muddled through the first half of the season to keep themselves within striking distance. What needs to happen during the second half of the season in order to stay within reach of that AL Central title?
1. James Shields
In order for us to contend for a title, we need our ace back. James Shields has been mediocre as of late. "Big Game" James had one quality start in the month of June. In June, Shields has a 4.88 ERA, and almost a 1.6 WHIP. I may have misspoke when I posted in the article that I wrote: http://lastwordonsports.com/2014/06/27/happened-james-shields/ that Shields is mediocre rather than he has been playing mediocre as of late.
2. Eric Hosmer
Eric Hosmer has looked lost at the plate. After finishing out the first half with a measly .249 batting average, .290 OBP, and four homeruns, Eric Hosmer will need to step it up in the second half much like in 2013.
3. The Lineup
Let me just say that Justin Maxwell has done absolutely nothing to earn a spot in the lineup. The only, and I stress only, time Maxwell should be in the lineup is when Ned decides to stick the 'Surrender Sunday' lineup out there.
Nori Aoki needs to have an extended stay on the DL, or he needs to be DFA'd. I am perfectly content with Jarrod Dyson being a starter on this ball club. If indeed Nori does come back as a starter this year, he should not be hitting leadoff.
I would say that Omar Infante should be moved back to the two spot, but he seems to be producing just fine in the six slot. Alcides Escobar would also be a worthy candidate, but he has no past success hitting in the two hole. Alex Gordon could be a good option.
After Shifting Gordon up to the two-spot, Salvador Perez would shift to the four spot, and Eric Hosmer would move down to the seven or eighth spot.
An ideal lineup would be: Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Salvador Perez, Omar Infante Eric Hosmer, Danny Valencia/Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Jarrod Dyson.
Kansas City has hung in there, and being that it's year nine of Dayton Moore's 10-year process, merely "hanging in there" is not something to brag about.