Before the season started, the Kansas City Royals were one of the trendiest “sleeper” teams in all of Major League Baseball.
An LVH SuperBook oddsmaker put up a very conservative number on Kansas City’s World Series futures price because he knew “the public is going to be on them.” Sports Illustrated projected the Royals to win 82 games, well above their season win total of 76.5.
And on and on.
Now, just a couple weeks into the year, the season already feels over for Kansas City. Okay, I know that’s an exaggeration. The season is still young and anything can happen and don’t read into the first 12 games and there’s a lot of time to make up ground and blah blah blablah. But at 3-9, the Royals are already down 5.34 units for those bettors who hopped on the bandwagon, the third-worst team in the league for bettors.
Even worse, they’re riding a seven-game losing streak that started with a loss in extra innings when they hit two batters in a row to help the Oakland A’s plate the winning run.
For those unfamiliar with Royals baseball, though, extended losing streaks are nothing new.
This is the ninth consecutive season in which the Royals have lost six games in a row by May 14.
Think about that for a second. It’s fairly rare for a team to lose six or seven straight games. From that same column, the Atlanta Braves went 16 years (from 1990 to 2006) without a seven-game slide.
But Kansas City has turned losing streaks into an art form.
It’s easy to look through hindsight, but why was everyone so high on this team? Everyone knew the starting pitching was atrocious, but they were drooling over the lineup. Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler are nice pieces, but is this really a terrorizing group of hitters? Is it the type of lineup that can make up for a staff that could post a collective ERA hovering around 5.00?
Yes, there is still time to turn things around. Who knows, maybe the experts knew what they were talking about and this is just an uncharacteristically poor start.
But for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1985, and hasn’t had a winning record since 2003, it sure seems like it was a lot of unjustified hype.