Major League Baseball does not award trophies on June 9. No big-league club flies a pennant that reads, “Best record in the American League through two months.” But, hey, here we are.
Despite a rocky stretch to start June, with two victories in an 11-game span at one point, the Royals entered Tuesday with a .582 winning percentage, a sliver better than the Twins (.579) and Astros (.576). All three clubs are nine games over .500, but since Kansas City has played the fewest games of the three, their record reigns supreme.
The Royals played the part of underdogs in the playoffs last October. They cannot occupy that role this year. In part, the secret is out about their talent and their suffocating combination of defense and relief pitching. But it also is a commentary on the rest of the American League: There aren’t very many good teams.
Until a club runs away from the pack, the league appears to be a muddle of underachievers (Blue Jays, Mariners, Red Sox, White Sox), upstarts (Astros, Twins) and water-treaders (Indians, Tigers, Yankees). If the Royals maintain their stride through the summer, they can capitalize on the weakened competition.
FROM THE STAR
1. Jason Vargas survived a scare and threw six scoreless innings as the Royals won again.
2. Blair Kerkhoff covered all the angles of the Royals in last night’s draft. The Royals run Indiana.
3. Sam Mellinger wrote a column about the draft.
4. The Royals face a decision on Drew Butera and Erik Kratz this week.
THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE (ACCORDING TO BASEBALL PROSPECTUS)
HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC
“Smile” by The Story So Far.