10/11/2013 12:05 P.M. ET
Numbers add up to quite a season for Royals
KC's pitching staff paves way for club to record most wins since 1989
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Check out some of the numbers from the Royals' 2013 season and you'll get a good idea of why they had their best campaign in nearly a quarter-century, or since 1989.
Some of the most impressive numbers were posted by the pitching staff with its American League-leading ERA of 3.45 -- the team's best since 1978.
"I don't get too wrapped up in stats," pitching Dave Eiland said. "I go a game at a time; stats don't have to tell me how well a guy or a staff is pitching. But if you do hear those numbers or see them on paper, they are pretty impressive."
The Royals' pitchers also set a club record for strikeouts -- 1,208 or an average of 7.45 a game. And walks were down for the second straight year.
"They bought into the philosophy of stay on the attack," Eiland said. "Stay on the attack, trust your stuff, believe in it, and trust and believe in your defense. And that's what these guys did. They pitched around guys when need be, but we got away from that nibbling and trying to be too fine. We stayed on the attack and with the defense that we had it was easier for me to sell them on that philosophy."
The Royals had three starters -- James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana -- over the 200-inning mark and Shields led the league.
"Those three guys carried the load for us. You knew what you were going to get every five days out of those guys except for a couple of hiccups here and there. But you've got to expect that from anybody," Eiland said. "As good as our bullpen was, they made our bullpen even better because we were able to give them ample rest. For the most part, those guys in the bullpen were strong and well-rested primarily because of those three guys."
As a result, the bullpen had the lowest ERA and held the opposition to the lowest average in club history.
And All-Star closer Greg Holland's 47 saves set a new club record, too.
"It's a credit to him," Eiland said. "Everybody talks about his stuff -- almost unhittable when he's on -- but it's his approach and his makeup that make him as good as he is. You don't teach a guy or force a kid to have that kind of makeup. He just has it, he was born with it."
Eiland also pointed to All-Star catcher Salvador Perez as a vital factor in the pitching staff's success.
"I don't know if we could've have done what we've done without Salvy," Eiland said.
Here are some of the 2013 numerical successes as compiled by the Royals:
86 wins, most since 1989
Most home wins, 44, since 1992
Most road wins, 42, since 2003
Second-most wins in Majors after All-Star Game, 42 (Dodgers won 45)
Fourteen more wins than in 2012 (72 to 86), third-best turnaround in American League
Winning record in five of six months -- April 14-10, June 16-11, July 15-10, August 16-15, September 17-10 (May was 8-20)
Most AL wins in one-run games, 31 (against 25 losses)
Most stolen bases in Majors, 153
Best stolen-base percentage in team history, .827
Best ERA in AL, 3.45
Most strikeouts in team history, 1,208 (1,117 in 2012)
Most innings by starters, 986 2/3, since 1997
Best ERA by starters, 3.87, since 1989
Best bullpen ERA, 2.55, in team history, best in AL 2013 and second-lowest in AL since 1982
Lowest opponents' average, .217, by bullpen in team history
Holland: Set team record with 47 saves; tied team record for strikeouts by reliever, 103.
Shields: Led AL in innings pitched, 228 2/3, and road ERA, 2.07; seventh in strikeouts, 196; eighth in ERA, 3.15.
Eric Hosmer: Led Majors in hits, 141, after All-Star break; led AL in multi-hit games, 60, tied for fifth-most in team history; seventh in AL hits, 188.
Alex Gordon: Tied for Majors high in outfield assists, 17; three walk-off RBIs; two grand slams; ninth in AL multi-hit games, 52.
Perez: Led AL catchers in runners caught stealing, 23; second in AL batting with runners in scoring position, .377; first Royals' hit in All-Star Game since 1989.
Billy Butler: Fifth in AL walks, 79; tied Perez for ninth in AL batting at home, .318.
Jarrod Dyson: Seventh in AL stolen bases, 34; first Royal with 30-plus steals in back-to-back seasons since Carlos Beltran, 2002-03.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.