Grading the Week: Royals really needed this

The Royals earn an A based upon their 5-1 week.
The Royals earn an A based upon their 5-1 week. (USATSI)

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Another week in the books, so it's time to throw out some grades. As a reminder, we don't grade every single team in order to avoid overkill over the course of the 162-game marathon. We'll just slot one team for each of the five traditional letter grades for the week.

A They got worked by the Minnesota Twins Sunday, yes, but that doesn't wipe away the good baseball the Kansas City Royals played for this week. They entered the week as one of the bigger disappointments in baseball, with a 4-7 record and coming off being embarrassed in Minnesota. They went out and won five straight against the Houston Astros and Twins by a combined count of 25-11. They even started hitting home runs and Mike Moustakas showed signs of life.
B After a 3-8 start, the Cincinnati Reds were failing miserably to meet expectations. Of course, it's baseball and they still had 151 games left. So far, they've been great since. Another win Sunday ran their record to 8-10. This week they went 4-2, taking a series each from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs . Winning Tuesday over the Pirates was big, as they had previously lost five straight to Pittsburgh. The Reds are knocked down to a B here by virtue of not sweeping the 5-12 Cubs.
C Hey, they're 12-7 and in first place. That's good news, L.A. This week was just kind of "blah," though. They dropped two of three to their rivals, the San Francisco Giants , in a series that included a blown Kenley Jansen save that led to a 12-inning loss. They won two of three from Arizona this weekend, but that's a team that is 5-16 overall. Everything is relative. If the Astros had this type of week it would be a B, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are really talented. For them it's a mediocre week which is worthy of a C.
D It was a rough week for the Pirates. They had seven games against division rivals Cincinnati and Milwaukee and were only able to come away with two wins. They're now 8-11 this season. When they aren't playing the Cubs, they're 4-9. Jason Grilli now has three blown saves in seven attempts, Andrew McCutchen is hitting just .243, Pedro Alvarez is well below the Mendoza Line and things generally just don't seem to be breaking their way. The good news is it's still plenty early, but the 2-5 mark against two divisional opponents is definitely worthy of a D.
F Well that opening week excitement has disappeared quite quickly. There's no nice way to say it without distorting the truth: The Seattle Mariners were brutal this week. Just brutal. After winning Monday, 7-1, they lost three games to the Texas Rangers by a combined total of 16-8 and then they were swept in three games by the Miami Marlins . There were errors, bullpen implosions in close games, blowout losses, bad starts and poor offensive production at different times. They just found ways to lose, six times in a row.
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