Royals, Giants meet again: Can either team regain the magic?

June 13, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

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Young fans watch activities before a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By Morris Phillips

The last time we checked in on the Giants and Royals collectively, things weren’t going well.

Two months later, on the occasion of their second interleague matchup of 2017, they still aren’t.

The 2014 World Series champs, the Giants, are battling the Padres to stay out of the basement in the NL West. The 2015 World Series champs, the Royals, have shown signs of life lately, but still reside in fourth place in the crowded AL Central.

The biggest issue is the same for both teams. The Giants have seen their offensive stars deal with injuries and/or regress. Currently, the Giants average just 3.68 runs scored per game, which ranks 29th out of 30 clubs. That’s almost a full run below the MLB average of 4.61. The Royals rank 28th, averaging 3.86 runs per game.

Manager Bruce Bochy admitted on Saturday that a return to form for his guys could take a while, now that he finally has his top seven hitters healthy for the first time all year. Hunter Pence, the most recent returnee from the disabled list, struggled in his first week back, registering just three hits in seven games. In Sunday’s bust out 13-8 win over the Twins, Pence showed life with three hits, and three runs scored.

The Royals just clubbed 10 home runs in three games at San Diego’s still spacious Petco Park, winning two of three from the Padres.  The series highlights a modestly improved stretch for Kansas City, winners of seven of their previous 12 ballgames. After starting the season 10-20, the Royals are 28-34, still just five games of the division-leading Twins.

Mike Moustakas hit a pair of home runs Sunday, and leads the club with 17, putting him on pace to shatter the surprisingly-modest franchise record of 36, set by Steve Balboni in 1985. Still Moustakas isn’t in the position to gloat, likely mindful of his and his team’s struggles offensively.

“This game is hard,” Moustakas said. “I’m just trying to come in and find ways to get hits every day. I’ve been fortunate this year that things are going out of the park.”

While Moustakas has flourished, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer, the other Kansas City mainstays have not.

 

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