At the halfway mark of the 2020 season, the Kansas City Royals are in a viable position to contend for the final playoff spot with a record of 12-18.
The Kansas City Royals‘ remaining 2020 schedule will be against opponents with a 0.4875 winning percentage after the first half of the season. The Royals will get to play 17 games at home out of their remaining 30 games.
Key series will come against the Chicago White Sox (7 games), Cleveland Indians (7 games), and Detroit Tigers (6 games). The Royals need to win 4 games against Chicago, 4 games against Cleveland, and 4 games against Detroit to be in a position to secure the final wild card playoff position.
Currently, I project the Royals to win 16 out of their remaining 30 games. If they split the season series with the Cardinals and win each of the remaining series, they will be in line to finish the second half with 18 wins putting them at a 30-30 record.
The final wild card spot in the American League is up for grabs and a .500 winning percentage is likely enough to secure the final playoff spot.
Here are three things we’ve learned about the Kansas City Royals halfway through the season.
1. Bullpen has led the way
The Royals 2020 bullpen has been instrumental in keeping the team competitive with 17 games decided by 2 runs or less. The 2019 Royals bullpen ended the season ranked 27th in ERA (5.07), 25th in K/9 (8.65), 26th in BB/9 (4.30), and 30th in WHIP (1.54).
Coming into the 2020 season, the Royals bullpen was given much of a chance to exceed expectations of finishing in the bottom half. The 2020 Royals bullpen has been outstanding finishing the first half of the season ranked 7th in ERA (3.52), 11th in K/9 (9.62), 19th in BB/9 (4.38), and 19th in WHIP (1.40).
Offseason veteran acquisitions Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland have provided experience to the younger bullpen arms and have performed well in high leverage situations. Josh Staumont has turned into a dominant force out of the bullpen throwing strikes more consistently with plus-plus stuff.
Kyle Zimmer has followed suit and has been consistent in letting his plus stuff play by throwing more strikes. Scott Barlow has continued to be outstanding in his role as first out of the bullpen in high leverage situations.
Manager Mike Matheny has not been shy about utilizing his high leverage relievers early and often to keep the Royals in the game. His approach at using his best relievers in unconventional situations is a welcomed sign Matheny is embracing advanced analytics to give his team the best opportunity to win ball games.