Are the Royals, in a rather passive-agressive manner, trying to suck us fans back in? While they’re still generally mediocre, they’ve won enough games over the past month to get within spitting distance of both .500 and first place. As I write this they are 31-36 and just 4.5 games behind Cleveland. Far better than they were six weeks ago, when they wrapped up a brutal April.

I say passive-agressive because of how they’ve reached this point. It hasn’t been because of a good, old-fashioned hot streak. They haven’t played .600 ball over a month on the strength of shut-down starting pitching or a ferocious offense. Nope, they’ve surrounded a few really bad starting efforts with some decent ones, continued to get terrific bullpen work, and have squeezed out enough runs here and there to win a bunch of one-run games.1 It all feels kind of fluky.

Take Wednesday’s game, for example. They were out-hit 8-4 and survived another adventurous Jonathan Broxton appearance to get a 2-1 win over the lowly Astros. But a win is a win, and once it’s tallied in the left column, it can’t be taken away.

So color me unimpressed, except…

Salvador Perez is likely back this week after a terrific rehab stint in Omaha. Lorenzo Cain might finally be on the mend. Hosmer can’t stay cold all season-long. And while they’re sure to mess it up one way or another, Wil Myers is probably the best minor league player in the game right now and will likely get called up well before September. Better defense at two positions, better hitting at three if Hosmer can get going, and another bat for the bench. They just might be much better a month from now than they are today, and since no one is running away with the division…

Damn it, they’ve sucked me back in. Perhaps my trip to see games in August won’t be a waste after all.

I have to address the Jonathan Sanchez situation. Dude is becoming my least favorite Royal in recent memory. As maddening as Luke Hochevar is, Sanchez might be worse. Whereas Luke seems like he just might not be super smart or just easily distracted, Sanchez often seems like he doesn’t care. At least from my view. How can you miss the strike zone (or first baseman’s mitt) as often and as badly as he does if you do care? There’s a part of me that wonders if he’s just trying to get released so he can get picked up by someone else.

Making matters worse, Melky Cabrera has been phenomenal so far for San Francisco. Other than himself and perhaps the Giants’ management, I’m pretty sure most people didn’t see that coming. It makes Sanchez’s struggles harder to take as Melky sits at the top of the NL batting stats. I thought Sanchez was a reasonable risk, especially with Cabrera likely to regress after his terrific 2011 season. And with Lorenzo Cain expected to be in center field all year, it made sense to move Melky when his value was at its highest.

We have no idea what other offers Dayton Moore had for Melky. Did he offer him to 10 other clubs and Sanchez was the best return he could manage? Or were the Giants the first team he called and he jumped on their offer of a big-league arm without shopping further? Moore has made plenty of blunders with managing the major league roster, so it’s tough to give him the benefit of the doubt. But surely Sanchez wasn’t the only offer he had, right?

  1. Let’s not forget how, 2-3 times a game, Ned Yost tries to prove he’s the worst manager in the game. It’s hard enough when you’re not hitting and barely pitching without your manager getting in the way.