For Pete's Sake

A closer look at the Royals’ eight-game winning streak

The Royals have done quite a bit of celebrating in their dugout during the steak.
The Royals have done quite a bit of celebrating in their dugout during the steak. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Do you know where you were on July 19, 2017?

Yeah, I meant last week. On the morning of the 19th, many Royals fans were in a mood to see the team trade its quintet of pending free agents, because the season was a wash. The Royals had lost four of five coming out of the All-Star break and were 1-7 in their last eight games.

Here were the standings in the American League Central at that time:

 
TeamRecordGB
Indians48-44--
Twins47-461.5
Royals45-473

This is how things stood in the AL Wild Card standings:

 
TeamRecordGB
Rays 51-44--
Yankees48-44--
Twins47-461.5
Mariners47-482.5
Royals45-473
Rangers45-483.5

That night, the Royals coughed up a ninth-inning lead and trailed Detroit 3-2 when they came to bat in the bottom of the frame. However, Alcides Escobar drew a four-pitch walk and scored when Brandon Moss doubled. Moss took third on the throw home and he scored the winning run on Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly.

The Royals haven’t lost since, and the standings look a little different in the Central and a lot different in the wild-card race.

Here is how things stand in the Central on Friday morning:

 
TeamRecordGB
Indians55-45--
Royals53-472
Twins49-516

This is the standings the AL Wild Card standings:

 
TeamRecordGB
Yankees54-46--
Royals53-47--
Rays53-501.5
Mariners51-523.5
Twins49-514
Rangers49-524.5

That walk-off win was the first of three that the Royals have had during this eight-game streak. Here are some other particulars of what the Royals have done at the plate in that time.

Batting average: .323 (96-297)

MLB rank: 2nd (Cubs are first at .328)

On-base percentage: .380

MLB rank: Tied for second (Indians are first at .409)

Slugging percentage: .556

MLB rank: 2nd (Rockies are first at .574)

On-base-plus-slugging percentage: .936

MLB rank: 2nd (Rockies are first at .947)

Isolated power: .232

MLB rank: 5th (Nationals are first at .247)

Runs scored: 63

MLB rank: 1st (Indians are second with 56)

Walks: 25

Strikeouts: 62

Doubles: 13

Triples: 1 (by Salvador Perez!)

Home runs: 18

MLB rank: 1st (Diamondbacks and Dodgers are second with 15)

Here is a closer look at the pitching:

Team ERA: 2.72

Runs allowed: 25

MLB rank: 2nd (Indians are first at 24)

Strikeouts: 53

Walks: 20

Home runs allowed: 2

MLB rank: 1st (Angels are second with 6)

There are a couple of things to note. The Royals have outscored opponents 63-25 in that span and they have outhomered them 18-2.

Late-inning success

Using FanGraphs’ wonderful splits leaderboard, I found that the Royals have been particularly good from the seventh inning on during the eight-game streak.

In that span, which includes extra innings, the Royals are batting .350 with 26 runs scored, six homers and six doubles. Meanwhile, Royals pitchers have a 0.67 ERA, having allowed two earned runs on 13 hits in 31 innings with 22 strikeouts and 11 walks.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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