Royals' deficit larger than it looks

It's extremely unlikely the Royals will get to wave a pennant flag this year. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals have been remarkably resilient during the 2013 season, rising from a 43-49 record at the All-Star break to make a serious run at one of the AL wild-card spots.

That strong play continued this past weekend, with the Royals taking two of three games against the division-leading Detroit Tigers. After Sunday's games, the Royals stand just 3½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL's second wild-card spot. Yet the Royals remain a huge underdog thanks to that inveterate annihilator of dreams, math.