06/29/08 1:42 PM ET
Kansas City offense heats up in June
Led by slugger Guillen, bats turning into asset for Royals
By Mark Dent / MLB.com
It all changed in June. The month is nearly over, and what a productive month it has been for the offense. Entering Sunday's action, Kansas City had scored 128 of its 329 runs in the past four weeks and hit 30 of its 57 home runs. The team's batting average had increased from .262 to .270.
"It has a lot to do a lot with the weather warming up, balls flying more here and on the road and in general," said right fielder Mark Teahen. "Guys enjoy swinging the bat more when it's not freezing out. I think that has something to do with it, but for the most part, I think we have a lot of guys just feeling it. Now that they're settled in, we're warming up."
Teahen is right. Plenty of Royals players are feeling it, especially Jose Guillen. After not breaking .200 in April, Guillen has been on fire. From May 7 through Saturday, he hit .368 with 45 RBIs.
David DeJesus, who took a 13-game hitting streak into Sunday's game, has also improved and given the Royals a threat from the leadoff spot. He had a clutch two-out double on Friday against the Cardinals, giving Kansas City some insurance runs in the victory.
Other than those two, Teahen has also hit better, along with Ross Gload.
"I don't think anybody has felt like they've had to do it themselves," manager Trey Hillman said. "I think every piece has helped a little bit."
In a way, shortstop Mike Aviles was the missing piece. He started playing full time earlier this month after coming up from Triple-A. He started out with a few big hits in his hometown of New York against the Yankees and has kept it up. Aviles was hitting .321 with 14 RBIs and three home runs entering Sunday's game, a large improvement over Tony Pena, who played shortstop for most of the season's first two months.
Hillman said Aviles helped add some pop and spark to the lineup. Teahen agreed.
"Hitting is definitely contagious and power is definitely the same way," Teahen said. "Once you see a few guys hitting some out, you don't want to be the only one without some homers. I think it's definitely contagious, and Mike came in and kind of infused the lineup."
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.