The stat of the season for the Royals is this four-run threshold, the one weve mentioned a million times in the paper and blogs and youve heard on radio and seen on TV and here it is again in Bob Duttons game story from last night:
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
They are 25-5 when they score at least four runs (and 11-34 when they dont).
Lets pause, for a moment, to acknowledge Alex Gordons ridiculous game last night: 3-for-5, including a homer and the walk-off hit, plus at least three excellent plays in the outfield. In the elevator on the way down to the clubhouse after the game, I told a friend the Royals mightve lost 5-1 without Gordon instead of winning 4-3 with him. When I said it, I was exaggerating to make a point. After I said it, I wasnt sure I was exaggerating at all.
I mentioned this on Twitter, but that works out to an .833 win percentage when they score four or more and a .244 win percentage when they dont.
As youd expect from a team with the best team ERA in the league, both numbers are a bit ahead of the rest of the league which is at .735 and .215, respectively.
So looking at that, we can see that the Royals arent alone in this magic four-run threshold. If you look at the league-wide breakdown, you see by far the biggest jump in win percentage is from scoring exactly three runs (.381) to exactly four runs (.563).
Stretch those percentages over an entire season, and thats the difference between a 100-loss team and a 91-win team. Thats the difference between people getting fired, and people getting contract extensions.
The Royals, as youd expect, are an exaggeration of those numbers: 7-13 (.350) when scoring exactly three runs, and 6-2 (.750) when scoring exactly four.
The problem, of course, is that the Royals just dont score four runs or more often enough.
Here, a chart comparing how often the Royals reach certain run totals compared to the rest of the league, and pardon the crudeness of this but I dont know a better way:
Runs Royals Rest of the AL
0 5.3% 6.7%
1 10.7% 8.9%
2 17.3% 12.7%
3 26.7% 15.5%
4 10.7% 14.0%
5 5.3% 10.2%
6 4.0% 9.7%
7 8.0% 7.2%
8+ 12.0% 15.0%
So, yeah. Theres a big difference there. The Royals score three runs or fewer, roughly, 60 percent of the time. The rest of the league scores four runs or more, roughly, 56 percent of the time.
This is why Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are so important.