KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Defense may be the most unappreciated aspect of baseball.
Just don't tell Royals pitchers that.
"One of the main reasons we've been as good as we have been," ace James Shields says, "is our defense. Those guys have been phenomenal.
"It's not unappreciated to us."
Sure, there have been some Royals hiccups in the field of late. Misplays here and there -- such as outfielder Justin Maxwell misjudging a liner Saturday that allowed two runs -- are bound to happen to even the best defensive teams.
But overall, the Royals' defense has not only made the average play, it has taken hits away. And prevented runs.
Baseball-reference.com, in fact, estimates the Royals' defense has saved 76 runs to date, tops in the American League. The Yankees are next closest with 33 runs saved.
"Almost every game we've had at least one great play, and in every win I think you can come up with a play or two that saved us," left fielder Alex Gordon says. "We play so many tight games, it...