Last season the Kansas City Royals were 58-101 and fifth place in the American League Central division. The team didn’t make it to post-season play. The Royals look to gain confidence from spring training to start the regular season off on a good note.
This season the Royals has less than half of its players returning. Head coach Ned Yost and the Royals organization have changed the team up quite a bit through trades and bringing players up from the minors. Most of the bullpen is new to the Royals organization, with the exception of Danny Duffy, Brad Boxberger, Jake Diekman, Chris Ellis, Brian Flynn, Jakob Junis, Brad Keller, Ian Kennedy, Jorge lopez, Sam McWilliams, Eric Skoglund and Kyle Zimmer.
The Royals’ home record last season (32-49) was better than their away record (26-55). With multiple newcomers to the team this season, they look to try to get to around .500 – an equal number of wins and losses – to gain confidence for their hopeful playoff run.
The Royals spring training began February 12 in Surprise, Ariz. Spring training is where every Major League Baseball team goes to start practice and to play pre-season games. It lasts just more than a month. Opening day is on March 28 for the Royals.
In spring training, the Royals have played 25 games so far with seven games remaining. Their spring training record is 13-12, which is just above .500. The team looks to keep that record above .500 to build their confidence for opening weekend against the Chicago White Sox.
The Major League Baseball season is the longest season in professional sports. Each team plays 162 games from March through October. With the season being so long, it is crucial for players to stay healthy and be ready to play when their name is called. 162 games might make people think that every game doesn’t matter, but in the end it could be only one game deciding which team makes the playoffs.
A major setback for the Royals this season is the loss of star catcher Salvador Perez. Perez had Tommy John surgery during spring training and will be out the entire season. According to the MLB, Tommy John surgery is a procedure in which a partial or fully torn ulnar collateral ligament on the medial side of the elbow is replaced with a tendon from another part of a patient’s body or from a cadaver. Many baseball players have this surgery done; it is always a season ending surgery, though.
In the upcoming season, the Royals need to have better at-bats. The team ranked 13th out of 15 teams in scored runs with 638. The team has four returning players that were in the top 10 in batting for the Royals last year. That includes Whit Merrifield, who had 632 at bats and the team high 88 scored runs. Merrifield also led the team in batting percentage with a .304. Merrifield will be in his third year with the Royals and looks to continue being an aggressor at the plate.
The Royals will begin their 2019 season at home for the first five games. On opening weekend, they will face the rival Chicago White Sox on March 28, 30 and 31. Last season the Royals were 8-11 against the White Sox with 81 runs scored. The opening day pitcher will be Brad Keller. Keller was drafted in 2013 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Keller was 9-6 for the Royals last season with 3.08 earned runs allowed. In his 15 games, he only allowed seven home runs.
Each season, the Royals have theme nights for the fans. For example, Wednesdays are college nights which allows college students to get discounted tickets. Here is a list of some of the theme nights for the 2019 season:
Sporting KC Night: Saturday, April 13 at 6:15 p.m.
Teacher Appreciation Night: Friday, April 26 at 7:15 p.m.
Bark at the Park: Monday, April 29 at 7:15 p.m.
Firefighter appreciation night: Tuesday, July 30 at 7:15 p.m.
For more information on theme nights, schedule, and tickets go to MLB.com/royals.