June 18, 2014, 3:29 am
The Kansas City Royals won their ninth consecutive game by crushing the Detroit Tigers 11-4. The Royals scored seven runs in the second inning off last year’s AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and never looked back.
The win puts the Royals on top of the Tigers in the AL Central. It is the latest the Royals have led the division since 2003. But it was the Minnesota Twins that won the AL Central that year. We’re a long way from October. The AL Central could be very fluid as only 5 1/2 games separate the first place Royals and the last place Twins. This could change in a week’s time. Eleven days ago, the Royals were five games back of the Tigers.
But the Royals have been threatening to break out of mediocrity for years and might be finally doing it. The most significant change has been in the Royals’ offense. At the end of May, the Royals fired hitting coach Pedro Grifol and replaced him with former Cubs manager Dale Sveum. When the change was made, the Royals were last in the AL in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, and runs scored. During this winning streak, the Royals have gone from last in the AL in runs scored to eighth. The Royals hottest hitters have been Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Salvador Perez, and Alcides Escobar.
The Royals have not been in the post-season since 1985 when the franchise won their only World Series title.