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Kansas City Royals, 1st Place, Same Sentence

As of June 1 the Kansas City Royals were in last place in the American League Central with a 26-30 record, 7 games behind the 1st place Detroit Tigers.  Yesterday, the Royals beat the Tigers for a 2nd straight day, and now sit alone atop the AL Central in first place thanks to a 9 game win streak!

The Royals improved to 12-3 in June, and have a +37 run differential, out scoring their opponents 88-51! They started with a 4-0 loss to Mark Buehrle and the Toronto Blue Jays. They then took 3 of 4 from the St. Louis Cardinals, 2 of 3 from the New York Yankees (1 game was postponed), swept a 2 game series with the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium, and then swept the Chicago White Sox in a 3 game set on the road.  On Monday and Tuesday, the Royals took the 1st two games of a 4 game series with the Tigers and scored 11 runs in back to back games, beating Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer!

Is Justin Verlander Injured?

Alcides Escobar has led the Royals in hitting this month, picking up 23 hits in 15 games, good for a .426 average. His 7 doubles and a triple have led to 9 runs scored and 5 RBI for the SS and he has even added 3 stolen bases. Salvador Perez, Billy Butler, Jarrod Dyson (8-24) and Alex Gordon are all hitting over .300 this month. Eric Hosmer is hitting just .219, but he has hit 3 home runs and drove in 12 RBI in June to lead the Royals. Only Gordon has hit more home runs with 4, but has just 9 RBI. Perez, Omar Infante, Lorenzo Cain and Butler each have at least 10 RBI. Mike Moustakas continues to struggle (.231 BA) but has hit 3 home runs in June.

The Royals pitching staff has been unbelievable in June and as a team, own a 3.18 ERA over 15 games. All 5 starters have made 3 starts, and Jeremy Guthrie is the only one with a L and he has 2 of them yet owns a 3.66 ERA. He has tallied 18.2 innings pitched and allowed just 8 earned runs while striking out 16 and going 7 innings twice..ironically enough in both of his losses. In his last start, he was pulled in the 6th inning with 2 outs, but left with a lead and earned a W.

Yordano Ventura has won all 3 starts, surrendering 6 runs across 20 innings pitched. He has just 8 strikeouts this month, a number he reached in 3 different starts this season! The Royals lost all 5 of his starts in May, and he was left with an 0-4 record.

Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy and James Shields are a combined 6-0 this month, each earning 2 wins. Shileds has pitched the least amount of innings amongst the starting staff with 17.1 and has yet to record an out in the 7th. Vargas has been great across his last 5 starts dating back to May 25th and has not allowed more than 3 runs to score. Duffy has been their Ace in June, with 2 shutout performances, 7 innings against the Whtie Sox and 6 vs the Cardinals. He has racked up 18 striekouts to just 5 walks over 18.2 innings pitched.

Aaron Crow and Wade Davis continue to be lights out in the bullpen setting the table for closer Greg Holland. Crow and Davis have combined for 14.2 IP with 13 strikeouts and allowed just 11 hits and 4 earned runs, 2 of which came on a home run on 1st of the month. Holland has picked up 5 saves this month giving him 20 on the year.

Are the Royals a legit threat in the American League?