If you asked any Royals fan two weeks ago if the team had a chance at making the 2013 playoffs, they likely would have laughed at you. After a 9-game winning streak, that declaration may not have been so amusing.
On the back of James Shields and a balanced hitting attack, the Royals cruised past the lowly Twins for a 7-2 win on Thursday night. Shields navigated through 6 innings, allowing only 2 runs despite 5 walks, and he improved his record to 6-7 on the season. Those win-loss numbers are, in no way, an indication of Shields’ level of pitching, however, as he has a stellar 3.08 ERA (in the AL, no less) and peripherals that would make most pitchers highly jealous.
Offensively, 8 of the the 9 Royals regulars got a hit in the game, and all 9 reached base (Eric Hosmer walked) in producing the 7-run effort. Billy Butler showed signs of life with a 2-for-5 day that included 2 RBI, and both Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon added multi-hit games that included at least one for extra bases.
At 54-51, the Royals would need to sustain this type of success in order to be a major player in the playoff picture. While that is unlikely, at least from the outside looking in, it is fantastic news for a tremendous baseball city to see their team compete into August, and it’s been a highly impressive run to end the month of July and spring into August.