KC Royals are about to face biggest test of season. Their June schedule is a beast

If there’s one statistic that would give pause to Royals fans, it’s their record against teams that are above .500.

The Royals have an overall 35-23 record and are in second place in the American League Central division. But they are just 11-14 against teams with a winning record.

Is that an anomaly? We’ll find out soon.

The Royals finish May and enter June with 20 of their next 29 games against teams with a winning record. That includes a 13-game stretch against teams that are leading their divisions.

The Royals return home Friday after losing three of four to the Twins, whose record is above .500. Here’s what is ahead for the Royals.

Friday-Sunday: vs. Padres

Record: 30-29

The skinny: The Padres lost to Miami on Wednesday, missing a chance at a three-game sweep. San Diego has won five of its last eight games. Dylan Cease, the former White Sox pitcher, will start Friday against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. He has a career 3.40 ERA against the Royals.

Tuesday-Thursday: at Guardians

Record: 37-19

The skinny: Royals recently ripped off eight straight victories but failed to gain ground on the Guardians in the American League Central. That’s because Cleveland didn’t lose during that stretch as it went on a nine-game winning streak. Is it too early to call this a big series? Nope. The Royals could have a chance to overtake the Guardians if things go well in this series.

June 7-10: vs. Mariners

Record: 31-27

The skinny: Seattle leads the AL West but their bats have yet to get going. The Mariners have scored the second-fewest runs in the majors (211), including just 23 in their last nine games. Seattle’s pitching staff’s 3.58 ERA ranks ninth in the majors. The Royals lost two of three at Seattle a few weeks ago.

June 10-13: vs. Yankees

Record: 39-19

The skinny: New York, which leads the AL East, has been red hot this month (20-7 record in May), and the Yankees have the best pitching in baseball (2.77 ERA). The Yankees’ 84 home runs and .769 OPS are both the best in baseball. Outfielder Aaron Judge is the leading contender to be the player of the month in May with these numbers: .355 average, 12 home runs, 12 doubles and a 1.350 OPS. But Kauffman Stadium is a much different park than Yankee Stadium for hitters. Juan Soto, who is batting .312, will be making just his second trip to Kansas City.

June 14-16: at Dodgers

Record: 36-22

The skinny: LA has the National League’s second-best run differential (plus-82). There are certain to be comparisons made between the shortstops in this game. The Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. is having an All-Star season, as is the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts. He’s batting .332 with 14 doubles and eight home runs. Betts has drawn 37 walks and struck out just 24 times. LA, which leads the NL West, is second in the majors in OPS (.768) and their 3.32 ERA is third-best in MLB.

June 18-20: at Athletics

Record: 23-35

The skinny: The Royals swept a three-game series from the Athletics at Kauffman Stadium a few weeks ago. But Oakland has played better at home (13-16) than on the road.

June 21-23: at Rangers

Record: 27-29

The skinny: The defending World Series champions had a brutal stretch in May, losing 12 of 14 games. But they’ve won three straight, scoring 16 runs. They previously had 34 runs during that dreadful 14-game stretch. Shortstop Corey Seager is heating up with eight home runs in his last eight games.

June 24-26: vs. Marlins

Record: 20-37

The skinny: Miami is in last place in the NL East, but they’ve played .500 ball in May (13-13) after starting the season with a 7-24 record. The Marlins have won nine of their last 14 games.

June 27-30: vs. Guardians

Record: 37-19

The skinny: The Guardians will make their first trip to Kansas City and it’ll be interesting to see what the standings look like when they’re at Kauffman Stadium. It’s possible first place in the division could be on the line.