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The Royals are hurting, but also back in first

Thursday's Say Hey, Baseball finds the Royals streaking and in first place, Ken Griffey Jr. detailing the robbing of a homer, and a Padres' executive losing it on the radio.

Tampa Bay Rays v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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This all happened in a hurry. Everyone was wondering what was wrong with the Royals not that long ago, as they were floating around the middle of the AL Central even before they lost Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas to the disabled list -- the latter for the entirety of 2016. Over their last 20 games, though, the Royals went 15-5, shot up the standings, and now find themselves winners of six straight and two games up on the formerly first place White Sox.

The Royals have only scored 10 more runs than they've allowed on the season, but in this stretch, they've outscored opponents by 29 runs. They've hit .303/.350/.442 as a team in these 20 games, with Lorenzo Cain (.360/.410/.560) finally breaking out of his slump at the same time Kendrys Morales started to show some signs of life. Paulo Orlando has also been a huge boost to the team since becoming a regular, and the lineup suddenly looks a whole lot less thin than it did even a few weeks ago.

The starting pitching is still not where it needs to be, with Kansas City posting a 4.76 rotation ERA during this run. If the Royals want to stay on top, they probably still need to add another hitter and absolutely need to add another starter, or else the bullpen is going to be run into the ground before the season is over: Kansas City starters averaged just 5-1/3 innings during these 20 games to go along with that horrid ERA, and that's not going to work all season in what is still a competitive division. Still, they're back on top, and they have most of what they need to stay there. That's huge considering how things looked for them not all that long ago between their record and the injuries.