Losing Danny Duffy hurts and who knows when Lorenzo Cain will return to play CF. For the most part, their starting pitching is very unimpressive. Let be honest, their two top pitchers, Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar, would be fifth starters on a lot of team's staffs if they would make them at all. Jonathan Sanchez is hurt, and he has been replaced by Luis Mendosa. Felipe Paulino and Vin Mazzaro have provided some depth the rotation was missing at the beginning of the season.
The most impressive part of this team is their bullpen. Though Joakim Soria is out for the season and Greg Holland is hurt, the Royals have the most underrated bullpen in baseball. Let by Jonathan Broxton (1-1, 1.69, 16 saves), the Royals have gotten a boost from former Minnesota Twins LHP Jose Mijares (2-1, 2.39). Prospects Aaron Crow (0-1, 2.76) and Tim Collins (4-1, 2.36) have given the bullpen depth that teams outside of the Yankees do not have. This is the main reason I see the Royals being a factor in the second half of the season.
Another reason is the improbable bad starts from 1B Eric Hosmer and LF Alex Gordon. 3B Mike Moustakas (.278, 10, 33) and DH Billy Butler (.300, 12, 38) are the lone bright spots in a lineup that has its share of holes. Hosmer(.219, 8, 32) is in the midst of a sophmore slump that he is bound to get out of. Gordon (.255, 5, 22) is nowhere near the pace he was on last season when he was an All Star. He too, is expected to put up a better second half.
Most importantly is the fact that the pressure has been lifted due to the 12 game losing streak. The fact that they trail everybody in the AL Central outside of the Twins will allow them to be under the radar. If they get some decent starting pitching, the other fasets of their game should allow them to win some games. Plus, in addition to the Twins, Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, there will be other AL teams that will fall out of contension which will allow for the Royals to pick up some games. Who knows? Maybe they make it back into the race. More importantly, I see the Royals being the story of the second half and a serious favorite to make the postseason next season, if not this year.