Royals teetering on brink

By Matt Verderame

The Kansas City Royals are in serious trouble. Not the kind of trouble that is insurmountable, but the type of problem that could sink a very respected ship.

Kansas City is entering the day of July 9 a robust eight games behind the Cleveland Indians for the lead in the American League Central. Furthermore, the Royals have absolutely no starting pitching to rely on, which is why Cleveland does not have to worry about the defending World Series champs making a comeback.

Kansas City knows how to win as well as any team in the sport, but that doesn’t help much down 8-0 in the third inning.

At 44-42, the Royals are 4-6 in their last 10 games and tied with the flailing Chicago White Sox for third place in the division. While the Royals, White Sox and Detroit Tigers are all in the mix for a wild card spot, the rotation might be what ends up separating Kansas City from the pack, and not in a good way.

At this point, the only starter that is reliable in any fashion is Danny Duffy. Duffy doesn’t qualify for anything because of his innings, but he’s a good hurler with a 3.09 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings.

Ian Kennedy, who most believed was vastly overpaid this offseason, is starting to struggle. Kennedy is leading the rotation with a 3.97 ERA with six wins. However, there are signs that things are about to unravel in a big way. Kennedy has allowed 21 home runs and only has seven quality starts in 17 outing this year.

Then there is Yordano Ventura, he of the electric stuff and short temper. Everyone in the heartland is waiting for the Royals to be led by Ventura, but that has not materialized in any fashion. Ventura has posted a hideous 6-7 record with a 5.15 ERA, putting him in the doghouse of most in the seats. Factor in the brutal pitching of Chris Young – who has finally, finally been demoted out of the rotation – and the staff is a complete dumpster fire.

If the Royals are going to make a real move in the AL, it is time for general manager Dayton Moore to make a move. The offense isn’t great, but it is good enough to make noise with Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer in the middle of the order alongside Kendrys Morales.

Moore has to acquire a pitcher, whether it be Ervin Santana, Rich Hill or another quality arm. At this juncture, anything is better than the circus the Royals have been trotting out.

Ultimately, Kansas City has had a great run. If things go south in 2016, there is nothing to be devastated over. All that said, the Royals are still in the mix. Go for it.