For the longest time, the theme song for Royals fans was Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September End.”
But the team’s renaissance has made September fun again, particularly since the Royals have surged ahead of the Tigers in the American League Central. That has raised eyebrows around baseball, particularly since Detroit got lefty David Price ahead of the trade deadline. Well, at least one person wasn’t shocked.
“That doesn’t surprise me,” Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters of the Royals. “I am surprised it took them this long (to get into first place). They are really good.”
Has the tide turned in the division?
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ESPN’s David Schoenfield wrote last Monday: “Is it time to panic in Detroit? Absolutely. … The Royals have a better bullpen, better team defense and better team speed.”
A big key to the race will be in September when the Royals play the Tigers six times, including the final three games of the season at Kauffman Stadium (regular-season games, that is). Here’s how the teams look heading into the final quarter of the season (all statistics are heading into Saturday’s games):
Record since All-Star break: 19-8
Games remaining: 27 vs. teams with a sub-.500 record; 13 vs. teams with a .500 record or better
Runs scored: 494, 14th in baseball
On-base percentage: .312, 18th in baseball
Starters’ ERA: 3.69, 11th in baseball
Bullpen ERA: 3.24, ninth in baseball
Runs saved*: 22, seventh in baseball
Record since All-Star break: 12-17
Games remaining: 18 vs. teams with a sub-.500 record; 23 vs. teams with a .500 record or better
Runs scored: 551, 4th in baseball
On-base percentage: .328, third in baseball
Starters’ ERA: 3.81, 15th in baseball
Bullpen ERA: 4.38, 27th in baseball
Runs saved*: Minus-44, T28th in baseball
* From BillJamesOnline.com
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