Kansas City Royals make the most of California road trip

Kansas City Royals. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Royals. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Royals went into their road trip to California at the bottom of the AL Central. Now they are poised to make a move at taking over the division lead.

Two weeks ago the Kansas City Royals were a team that had been written off by nearly everyone. Sitting in last place in one of the worst divisions in baseball, it seemed unlikely they could turn the season around. However, a road trip to California against the Padres, Giants, and Angels appears to have been just what they needed. They’ve now climbed to third in the AL Central.

The Royals played their best baseball of the season over the past week and a half. Going 9-2 on their road trip, KC gained some real momentum. As it stands, Kansas City is now in third place in the division, and just three and half games out of first.

Kansas City is still two games under .500 on the season, so fans shouldn’t get too carried away. There are also two teams ahead of the Royals that will have something to say about who takes the AL Central. That includes a Minnesota Twins team that KC hasn’t been able to figure out this year.

Trade Deadline Complications

Of course, the major story on the Kansas City Royals this year has been on what the team will do with their pending free agents. Several core members of the 2014 and 2015 teams that went to the World Series are set to hit the market. Many believed KC would be early sellers. This recent surge definitely complicates that.

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The Royals are nearing a point where they will have to decide whether they intend to make a run at the postseason, or look to rebuild. That was already a tough decision, but Kansas City has made it even more difficult. Being this close to the division lead and hovering around .500 is “no man’s land” in baseball.

There is still plenty of baseball to be played before the trade deadline, but the Royals need it to be decisive. They need to either go on a tear and get well over .500, or they need to fall apart and fall back into last place. The only thing Kansas City can’t afford to do is stay where they are.

It Won’t Be Easy

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Nothing is handed to you in professional sports, and that is certainly true with the Kansas City Royals upcoming schedule. It’s not that the Royals face a lot of good teams, it’s that the schedule looks pretty evenly distributed between good and bad teams. That means a status quo result is a very likely outcome…exactly what KC doesn’t need.

A lot will be determined by their next few series If the Royals can win a string of series, they will get above .500. At that point it will be much easier to commit to making a run for the postseason. In fact, Kansas City could even become buyers at the trade deadline.

However, that all comes down to the players on the field, and that has been tough to rely on this year. The Royals have been a frustrating team to watch in the 2017 season. Hopefully they can shake that off and keep playing the way they have over the past couple of weeks.

The Kansas City Royals need something to break one way or another. The team is playing much better recently, but that has put them into “no man’s land” when it comes to the trade deadline. KC needs a stretch of really good baseball or really bad baseball to help determine the direction of the rest of the season.