The Kansas City Royals are blowing my mind right now.
Winners of 11 of their last 13 games entering play in Cleveland Tuesday night, the Royals qualify as the hottest team in baseball.
And that's just hard to believe considering where this team was just two weeks before.
After a 17-10 start, the Royals fell apart during the month of May and early June, losing 22 of their next 28 games. They dropped from first to last place in the American League Central and their record dipped as low as nine-under .500.
It was like a replay of 2009 when the Royals started 18-11 and wound up losing 97 games.
Fans were furious and ready to give up on the season.
They wanted to blow up general manager Dayton Moore's seven-year rebuilding program and start over yet again.
And really, that seemed like an inevitable outcome until these last two weeks.
The Royals are 11-2 since June 3. They have taken series' off both the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay.
Their record returned to .500 Monday and they moved ahead of Cleveland into second place. They trail the Tigers by only five games in the American League Central.
The Royals are once again set up to play meaningful baseball games past the month of June, a first for the club since the 2003 season.
It's another example of how over the course of 162 games, a season can turn around quickly and when least expected.
Some will point to the hiring of George Brett as hitting coach, the inclusion of Billy Butler's Barbeque Sauce in the dugout or the re-shuffled lineup as the forces behind the Royals resurgence.
There's probably some validity to all of those. But to me, the most obvious and logical reason for it is their pitching.
It's been off-the-charts good of late.
The Royals have allowed three runs or less in 14 of their last 15 games, dropping their team ERA to 3.35—fourth-best in all of baseball.
Teams are getting their share of hits and base runners against the Royals, but they aren't scoring runs.
The Royals have done an unbelievable job of pitching with runners in scoring position lately, stranding runners on base at an astronomical rate.
Just Monday night, the Indians left 11 on base. In the series with Minnesota that started the Royals' revival, the Twins stranded 22 in the last two games.
The Royals just aren't giving up that back-breaking hit that blows games open.
This has allowed the team's offense to scuffle almost as bad as it was during the slump, yet still be productive enough to win games.
Page 2 of 2 - The Royals broke out a little bit in Tampa over the weekend, but remain one of the league's worst offensive teams.
They rank 20th in runs scored, 28th in slugging percentage and 29th in home runs.
Their lack of power is startling for an American League team. Alex Gordon leads the Royals with six home runs. Clean-up hitter Billy Butler has been stuck on five for what seems like forever.
Can't-miss young players Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have combined for a mere six.
Right now, none of that matters.
The Royals are winning anyway.
They are overcoming their lack of offensive production by being opportunistic and delivering at the most pivotal moments.
They've come up with clutch late-game hits like Eric Hosmer's game-tying two-out single in the eighth Monday and Lorenzo Cain's two-out, two-strike homer in the bottom of the ninth last week against Detroit.
I'm not sure how long the Royals can make this somewhat fluky formula work, but it's at least gotten them back into playoff contention.
Barring another terrible stretch, the Royals figure to at least be in the running for a playoff spot into August.
Who knows? Maybe they can even battle for first place in an absolutely awful division.
Either way, it's nice to see the Royals be viable this late in the year.
I never saw it coming two weeks ago.