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Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Royals are in serious trouble. They won on Monday, but that snapped a nine-game losing streak that has them comfortably in the AL Central's cellar. While they are just 5.5 games back, as Royals Review points out, there are deeper issues here than just their record. The Royals have scored 69 runs — the next-lowest total in the league is 91, a tie between the A's and Giants, both of whom also play in pitcher-friendly parks.
They have the second-worst offense in the league according to OPS+, and worst in the AL. Their pitching isn't bad, with the staff as a whole putting up a 102 ERA+ that's right around the league average. It has been top-heavy to start the year, though, with Nathan Karns and Jason Hammel both imploding while only half the bullpen has been reliable to this point. They can probably bank on Karns and Hammel turning things around, but if Kansas City isn't scoring runs, it's not going to matter.
As Royals Review mentions in the linked article, just four of the 55 teams that began their seasons as poorly as the Royals did even ended up finishing with a winning record. And it's not like the Royals were favorites heading into the year: The pitching was going to have to come together at the same time their hitters showed off the best versions of themselves, and to this point, they're halfway to one of those goals with a month of the season behind them.
It's early, sure, and the Royals are just 5.5 back, but it's going to take a total reversal of performance to keep that gap from growing — one some of Kansas City's hitters might not be capable of.
- Losing Adam Eaton is significant to the Nats, who did believe they needed to go out and trade major prospects to acquire him. But with Bryce Harper once again Harpering, Ryan Zimmerman looking like the franchise player he used to be, and Daniel Murphy still an All-Star, the Nats are still dangerous.
- Jacoby Ellsbury made a pretty nifty jumping catch at the wall in center field. The problem is that he then crashed into the wall, toppled over, and overthrew Aaron Judge while trying to get the ball in, allowing the Blue Jays to score two runs.
- This disastrous public proposal left Fenway Park chanting "SHE SAID NO!" at the man who popped the question.
- Listen to Charlotte Wilder, y'all: If you ask someone to marry you in a public setting like this, you deserve to go viral when it fails.
- Remember this weekend when Noah Syndergaard rejected an MRI the Mets requested for him and then he left his Sunday start with an injury? Yeah, he tore his right lat muscle and is on the DL now.
- The Nationals might go out and find a new center fielder. And also some help for the bullpen.
- You can already submit a 2017 MLB All-Star Game ballot, so be sure to do so immediately and ignore that you'll probably regret a lot of your choices by the time July hits.
- Cody Bellinger continues to impress in his run with the Dodgers.
- It can take a few beers and having dozens of similarly awful people around to embolden him, but don't worry, Sully is just as racist as anyone from anywhere else in this country: Adam Jones says he was “called the N-word” by fans during Monday's game at Fenway Park.