Only two franchises have failed to make the postseason in the wild-card era.If the season ended today, both of those streaks would be snapped. The season doesn’t end today, of course, so it doesn’t really matter that the Royals and Blue Jays are atop the AL Central and AL East, respectively. Kansas City hasn’t made the postseason since win
ning the 1985 World Series, and Toronto hasn’t been since winning the 1993 fall classic. What do these two teams need to do to play in October? Let’s look …Blue JaysToronto leads the majors in home runs and is third in runs scored. Offense isn’t the issue. The Blue Jays need pitching help, which is why they’ve been connected to pretty much every available hurler thought to be on the trade market. Though it might be tough to convince Tampa Bay to deal David Price within the division, Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos will explore the possibility. The Blue Jays are considered a frontrunner to land Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija, though meeting Chicago’s prospect demands won’t be easy. The Jays would prefer an ace, make no mistake.The rotation is actually in better shape than most people realize. At the top of the current configuration, veteran Mark Buehrle has been outstanding (2.32 ERA in 15 starts) and youngster Drew Hutchison has been solid (3.62 ERA in 14 starts) in his first action since Tommy John surgery. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey got off to a rough start, but he has a 3.23 ERA in his past 10 starts. J.A. Happ has been hit-or-miss (4.04 ERA as a starter).The bullpen was awful the first several weeks of the season, but has been better since closer Casey Janssen returned from the DL (he has a 1.24 ERA). It helps that Sergio Santos is back; he’s thrown two scoreless innings since returning from the DL. Still, there’s no such thing as too many reliable relievers, and more arms wouldn’t hurt.RoyalsThe Royals are pretty much the opposite of the Blue Jays. Their pitching has been excellent, but they have done only an acceptable job scoring runs (eighth in the AL), but if the lack of power continues, that might be hard to keep up.Kansas City hit just 39 home runs in its first 71 games (next-worst in the AL is Texas, at 51), a level of futility we haven’t seen in quite some time. In fact, we haven’t seen a team finish with fewer home runs than wins since the Brewers in 1992. Heading into Friday’s contest, the Royals had 39 homers and 39 wins.Theoretically, at least, some players the current roster will improve in that aspect. DH Billy Butler and 1B Eric Hosmer combined for 32 homers in 2013, but they have just six so far in 2014. Mike Moustakas had a horrible start to 2014 and has been a tiny bit better since his demotion to Triple-A, but his job isn’t safe.The Royals could look to upgrade in right field, too, where Nori Aoki is having his worst season, but he is KC’s leadoff man. It’ll be interesting to see how GM Dayton Moore chooses to proceed.