For the past three years, the Tampa Bay Rays have been known as a highly athletic fast team that steal bases and run with ease. That kind of style of play has helped their small ball tactics stay ahead of the powerful New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Now that same philosophy is being instilled by the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals entered the weekend series leading the Major Leagues with 75 stolen bases. They also stole 14 bases in their last 10 games, thus giving them an American League-leading stolen base percentage, at 79.2 percent.

Why is this important? Because even when a team’s hitting isn’t up to par, they can still create run scoring opportunities by stealing bases and also use their speed to advance from first to third or even score from first.

They also lead the league in having four players to swipe at least 10 bases and are the only club in the Majors to do so. Shortstop Alcides Escobar and second baseman Chris Getz have 12 steals, while outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Mike Aviles have 10.

If only they had the pitching to go with it, the Royals probably would be in contention right now. But at least they are getting their top starter from injury. Bruce Chen, who is 4-1 with a team leading 3.88 ERA, made his return from the DL in a no-decision yesterday against the Chicago Cubs by going six innings.

The future is looking bright for the Kansas City Royals.

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