All-Star Break: Looking Back on the Royals First Half

The 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 81st mid-season exhibition between the all-stars of the American League and the National League. It is a time to reflect on the first half of the season and look forward to the second half. As for the Royals, the first half definitely had somewhat of a rocky start. Kansas City, with a 12-23 record, fired manager Trey Hillman and hired former Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost. This was a very difficult move for General Manager Dayton Moore, who teared up when he announced the move.

There are some bright spots for the Royals. Since Yost took over, the the Royals are 27-23 with the manager making several immediate moves out of the gate. He fired third base coach Dave Owen and made Joakim Soria a ninth inning only closer. Zack Greinke is 4-0 with 35 strikeouts and just four walks in his last five starts, though he was scratched right before the break due to a sore shoulder. Kansas City ranks first in the league in batting average at .282 and hits with 862. David DeJesus is having a career year, leading the team in batting with a .326 average, and José Guillén has made an impact with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs.

Are the Royals playoff bound? Teams have made up ground to reach the playoffs in the past. Not often, but for example, the 1991 Atlanta Braves were 9.5 games back at the break but with some good acquisitions, a stabilized bullpen and great second half stats, they fought their way into the postseason. The 1995 New York Yankees were eight games back at the break and made the playoffs thanks mainly to the late George Steinbrenner, who added OF Daryl Strawberry and RHP David Cone to the mix.

According to the GM, the goal is to have mostly homegrown guys in 2013 but where does that leave the 2010 squad? Kansas City needs to win 49 games to put them around consideration for the postseason. Doable? Sure. Likely? That will depend on management’s approach. I do know that going into the break losing three straight doesn’t build confidence. Greinke will be the starting pitcher against Oakland on the first game back, and it should be interesting to see how his shoulder looks.

Things to pay attention to in second half:

Will the Royals make any trades? Kansas City has nearly as many players drawing interest than any team in baseball. Speculation has focused on DeJesus, along with Mike Aviles, Willie Bloomquist, Kyle Farnsworth and Robinson Tejeda.

Will Yost be able to do for the Royals what he did for the Brewers and whose bats will get going as the temperature rises?

Will DeJesus and Billy Butler remain hot? What jersey will they be wearing by season’s end?

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