The defending AL West champion Kansas City Royals have not spent one day in first place in their division this season, yet they’ve managed to quietly remain within striking distance of the front-running Rangers and Twins throughout the SP78 campaign. The Royals finished July in second place with a record of 58-45, five games behind the Rangers and 1½ ahead of the Twins, and after All-Star MVP George Brett and ace reliever Al Hrabosky were placed on the disabled list in July, KC was still able to round out the month with a decent 17-11 mark, their best won-lost of the year. And with both injured players set to return to the lineup in mid-August, the Royals seem ready to come out of hiding and make a move for the West flag.
Before he was lost to injury, Brett led all Royals starters for the month with a .340 average, and tied Hal McRae for the team lead in hits, with 33; his 125 hits, 42 doubles, and 66 RBI leads the team overall. Amos Otis led the squad with just five home runs in July, and his 16 for the season ties Hal McRae for best on the team for the season. On the mound, Dennis Leonard and Paul Splittorff each recorded four victories for the month, and Leonard’s 14 wins has him on pace to win 20 for the second straight year. As for team stats, KC is 18-3 in shutout wins for the season, and has a perfect 8-0 mark in games where a team has scored ten runs or more; they also finished July winning nine of their last eleven games.
To take a look at the Royals team page for results through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.