The Tigers were in absolute cruise control, sitting at 27-12 and the Royals were barely staying over .500 with a 22-21 record.
The rest of May was not exactly kind to the Royals, as they limped into June. They lost to the red-hot (at the time) Toronto Blue Jays on the first day of June, and that left them at 26-30. It wasn’t looking good, but luckily for them, the Tigers were struggling also, so they were not losing a ton of ground.
They took 3 out of 4 from from their in-state rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, and that was just the beginning of their red hot June.
They have been able to gain ground by winning this month, and they have gotten close enough to where they control the destiny because they are playing the team that they are trying to pass.
I’m not sure if the Royals finally woke up, or the Tigers just fell asleep, but this has gotten very interesting.
The Tigers have really faltered lately, mainly the former best pitcher in the game, Justin Verlander, while the Royals have ran off eight consecutive games, including a 11-7 shootout last night against those Tigers.
It’s hard to say how competitive they can really be over a full season because of their lack of power — they currently rank last in the American League with only 36 home runs, but they have hit 10 during this winning streak, so maybe capable guys like Eric Hosmer (4 homers), Billy Butler (Only 2), Alex Gordon (7 homers) and Mike Moustakas (6 homers) will start showing off that power.
They also have a pretty good rotation, led by ace James Shields and Danny Duffy, and the best closer in the AL this year in Greg Holland (20 saves).
The Royals won 86 games last season, and it seemed like they were ready to take that next step this season. After a slow start, this team is rolling. They have a great mix of young players and veterans, and they can really take control and show the Tigers that they are serious contenders in this division.
A month ago, there seemed like only one contender, now there seems to be three, considering the Cleveland Indians are only 2 1/2 games out also, riding a three-game winning streak.
– Khristian Peel