"Kansas City Royals (17): I never get to talk about the Royals…. They've won 12 of 13 and 14 of 17 since the All-Star break, which makes Dayton Moore -- who said they could win 15 of 20 at any time -- prescient. Credit where due. It's not just the schedule; they went 5-2 on a homestand against the Tigers and Orioles, and going 9-1 even against a weak slate since then exceeds expectations. The decision to release Jeff Francoeur is mitigated by their burial of Johnny Giavotella -- their only real second-base option -- and continued use of Wade Davis as a starter. Their best hitter is a catcher batting .174 and they still don't do anything well on offense but steal bases. Going 14-3 gets them to -- or close to -- what will be a high point this season, but they're not going to catch the Tigers and even at this high point, they're the eighth-best team in a 15-team league.
"Call me in 12 days. Once the Twins leave town, the Red Sox come in, followed by the Marlins. Then the Royals go to Detroit for five games in four days. If the Royals have closed ground on the Tigers when they leave Detroit, if they're not still chasing three teams better than them in the wild-card race, then we can take all of this seriously.
"I suppose, after it all falls apart, the goalposts will be moved again, and staying sort of relevant in August and early September, finishing above .500, will be deemed a success. We'll hear about the challenges of a small market and the unfairness of it all, probably on a radio show while the Rays are preparing for a Division Series game, probably while Wil Myers takes batting practice, probably while votes are counted for Rookie of the Year."