‘It’s acceptable’: Royals GM J.J. Picollo reflects on first series against Guardians

The Kansas City Royals returned to home after earning a hard-earned series split against the Cleveland Guardians this week.

Both teams are jockeying for the American League Central divisional crown. Prior to Friday’s games, the Guardians (40-21) held a four-game lead on the Royals.

KC picked up a 4-3 victory on Thursday afternoon and improved to 37-26 overall. More importantly, the Royals evened the head-to-head matchup with the Guardians.

“It was good,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said. “You would like to win both games, but it was kind of a role reversal with us having a lead on Tuesday and not holding it. Thursday, they had the lead, and we ended up winning it.”

However, Picollo knows there is more work to be done.

“It’s acceptable,” Piccolo said regarding the split.

Both teams will play 11 more times this season. The Royals showed they could compete in the brief series despite a few mistakes. KC held leads in both games and could’ve left Cleveland with a sweep.

The Guardians took advantage of Royals star Bobby Witt Jr.’s uncharacteristic error in Tuesday’s game. The late mistake fueled the Guardians 8-5 victory in the series opener.

Wednesday’s game between the Royals and the Guardians was postponed due to rain. The game is set to be made up on Aug. 26 as part of a doubleheader at Progressive Field.

“They are good team and I think we have a nice team,” Picollo said. “So, I would like to think there is going to be a lot of back and forth and a lot of fun playing them.”

The teams will next match up on June 27-30 at Kauffman Stadium. It will be a special weekend as the Royals induct former star Bo Jackson into the franchise Hall of Fame.

Jackson will be inducted alongside former Royals general managers Cedric Tallis and John Schuerholz. Both Tallis and Schuerholz played instrumental roles in building the Royals organization since the franchise’s inception in 1969.

The Royals will also culminate a tough stretch of their schedule as well. KC’s next 10 games will be against first-place teams.

This weekend, the Royals face the Seattle Mariners at home. Then, the New York Yankees — who hold the MLB’s best record — will be in town for a four-game series.

The 10-game stretch concludes with three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers to kickoff a three-city road trip.

“To come out after this stretch would be great for us,” Picollo said. “I think it’s not so much the opponents, but just the schedule itself. Two off days in June and eight off days in July. … Just the schedule itself plays to our favor a little bit regardless of who we are playing (after the stretch of games).”