Erik Kratz: Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Playoff Race: Kansas City Royals Charge Continues

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The Kansas City Royals continue their assault on the playoffs by winning their 8th straight series by defeating the Twins 6-4 in Minnesota. You know things are going good when you pull your All-Star catcher in the 7th inning with knee discomfort and backup Erik Kratz slams 2 home runs in 2 at bats. Oh yeah, and you win by 2 runs.

Salvador Perez, by the way, was pulled as a precautionary measure to protect his surgically-repaired knee. The win made a winner of starter Jason Vargas, who is now 10-5 on the season with a 3.17 ERA.

The Royals are now 14 games over .500 for the first time since the 1994 strike season.

Detroit was idle on Monday, which meant the Royals gained a 1/2 game in the A.L. Central to pad their lead to 2 games.

A. L. Central

Rk Tm W L W-L% GB Strk Home Road 1Run vRHP vLHP ≥.500 <.500 last10 last30
1 KCR 69 55 .556 W 2 33-28 36-27 17-21 50-38 19-17 38-35 31-20 8-2 21-9
2 DET 66 56 .541 2.0 L 1 33-29 33-27 19-17 41-38 25-18 36-33 30-23 4-6 13-17
3 CLE 62 61 .504 6.5 L 1 37-24 25-37 18-17 46-41 16-20 31-38 31-23 5-5 16-14
4 CHW 59 66 .472 10.5 L 1 31-30 28-36 21-18 42-50 17-16 36-39 23-27 4-6 14-16
5 MIN 55 68 .447 13.5 L 2 26-33 29-35 17-19 37-45 18-23 33-44 22-24 4-6 12-18
Avg 62 61 .504 32-28 30-32 18-18 43-42 19-18 34-37 27-23 5-5  to 15-14

Hmmmm. The Royals also opened a 1/2 game on Cleveland as well as Detroit, since both teams were idle on Monday. The Royals have gone 21-5 in their last 26 games. Not only have they roared back to take over the Central lead, now they are extending away.

Let’s hope the Royals can continue to distance themselves from the rest of the A.L. Central. ESPN estimates the Royals playoff chances at 75%.

Get that? The “flagship” sports outlet thinks that KC is 3 out of 4 likely to break their 29-year string of playoff futility.

A.L. Wild Card

Rk Tm W L W-L% GB Strk Home Road 1Run vRHP vLHP ≥.500 <.500 last10 last30
1 LAA 73 50 .594 W 1 41-23 32-27 22-18 52-34 21-16 32-37 41-13 6-4 17-13
2  OAK 73 51 .589 L 5 40-21 33-30 17-17 53-36 20-15 41-33 32-18 3-7 15-15
3 BAL 71 52 .577 W 2 34-26 37-26 24-18 51-37 20-15 42-35 29-17 7-3 20-10
4 KCR 69 55 .556 W 2 33-28 36-27 17-21 50-38 19-17 38-35 31-20 8-2 21-9
5  DET 66 56 .541 L 1 33-29 33-27 19-17 41-38 25-18 36-33 30-23 4-6 13-17
6  SEA 67 57 .540 L 1 34-32 33-25 14-22 40-41 27-16 39-28 28-29 7-3 16-14
7  NYY 63 59 .516 3.0 W 2 29-29 34-30 20-16 47-42 16-17 31-33 32-26 5-5 17-13
8  TOR 64 61 .512 3.5 L 1 33-26 31-35 11-12 47-45 17-16 32-37 32-24 3-7 15-15
9  CLE 62 61 .504 4.5 L 1 37-24 25-37 18-17 46-41 16-20 31-38 31-23 5-5 16-14
10  TBR 61 63 .492 6.0 L 2 28-34 33-29 17-16 46-46 15-17 35-47 26-16 6-4 19-11
11  CHW 59 66 .472 8.5 L 1 31-30 28-36 21-18 42-50 17-16 36-39 23-27 4-6 14-16
12  BOS 56 68 .452 11.0 L 2 29-34 27-34 24-23 37-46 19-22 31-48 25-20 6-4 14-16
13  MIN 55 68 .447 11.5 L 2 26-33 29-35 17-19 37-45 18-23 33-44 22-24 4-6 12-18
14  HOU 52 73 .416 15.5 W 1 29-36 23-37 13-21 37-51 15-22 30-50 22-23 5-5 12-18
15  TEX 48 76 .387 19.0 W 1 23-38 25-38 16-18 35-53 13-23 27-49 21-27 3-7 10-20
Avg 62 61 .506 32-29 30-31 18-18 44-42 18-18 34-39 28-22 5-4 15-14

The interesting part here is the slide of the Oakland A’ s, who have dropped 5 straight games to fall from the best record in baseball to 2nd place in the A.L. West. Now it is the A’ s in position for the 1st A.L. Wild Card. The A’s slide is in no small part due to their recent 2-5 skid in 2 series against KC.

Notice, also, that the Royals have also opened a 2-game lead over the Mariners for the 2nd wild card. Seattle lost 4-1 to the Phillies in an interleague tilt.

The Angels have taken over the A.L. West lead despite sitting struggling outfielder Josh Hamilton for the last two games after he requested a day off Sunday. Superstar Mike Trout has also scuffled recently, allowing Royal Alex Gordon to take over the position player WAR (wins above replacement) lead at 5.7.

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Tags: Erik Kratz Jason Vargas Josh Hamilton Kansas City Royals Mike Trout Salvador Perez

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