Everywhere there are breakdowns of exactly what will happen in the World Series being written. And just like in previous rounds, the majority of them are telling you why the Royals are going to come up short. Here are some of them:
- The Giants have done this 2 other times recently
- The Royals are due for a cold snap
- The Giants pitchers are better than the Royals and Bumgarner is the best pitcher in the series
- AT&T Park presents a big challenge for the outfielders to read
- Bruce Bochy is the best postseason manager in the game
- They are on the brink of being a dynasty
- Teams that sweep the LCS have historically done very poorly in the World Series
Of course then you get some of the reasons why the Royals will win… and admittedly, there are fewer that seem to be tangible:
- Sung Woo is coming back to KC. The first time he came the Royals had a huge winning streak and they swept the Giants
- The Holland/Saberhagen Parellel from ‘85
- Nobody has believed in them so far and they are 8-0
- Speed doesn’t slump
- One Word: Bullpen
- It’s destiny
So what will I bring to the argument? Well… nothing. (Except for all of the nifty animated gifs I’m sprinkling in throughout this to remind you of just how good this team’s defense is!) All I can tell you is that this entire city is holding on for dear life with every pitch. The intimate knowledge of how fleeting this kind of feeling and experience can be has people teetering back and forth between the ecstasy of this amazing run, and the rabid desire for more. I think back to being a 13 year old in Atlanta in ‘91 during the magical run that started the Braves’ era of dominance. I distinctly remember the jubilation and celebration after Sid Bream slid across ahead of Barry Bonds’ throw to clinch the LCS and the buzz that surrounded it. I can say that it was on par with what I’ve seen in KC this year, except that there has been THAT level of buzz and excitement after every single victory this postseason for KC. That’s an entirely differently level of excitement that I’ve never seen before. It has been an absolute blast.
Instead of telling you what is going to happen, I want to relive what the Royals just accomplished in the ALCS and simply let that remind you why there is no good way to know what is going to happen.
Game 1: The Gordon Game
When Alcides Escobar is hitting home runs, you have to like your chances. Escobar’s homer in the 3rd had Royals fans feeling great. Alex Gordon following that with a bases clearing broken-bat double really had KC flying. Alex also tacked on a brilliant diving catch to get the Royals out of a jam as well. But the Orioles came back to tie it back up (though the bullpen kept them at bay from there). Alex’s day got more memorable when he took a fastball to the back of the neck. I think the umpire was convinced Alex was going to fall over and be concussed, but Alex did what Royals fans expected. He shook it off and kept going. Toughest. Man. On. The. Team. Naturally that simply made the end of the game even better. Alex led off extra innings (or as KC refers to them… Our Innings) with a no-doubt home run. Moustakas followed with a continuation of his proof that prior performance does not predict future success. (Fredi Gonzalez…that’s for you). Moustakas’ 2 run homer gave ample insurance for the Royals to hold on for victory. Winning Pitcher – Wade Davis. Save – Greg Holland. Game MVP – Alex Gordon.
Game 2: The Cain Game
From the first inning it was clear that Lorenzo Cain was going to be a difference-maker in this one. In that inning he got such a good read on a blooper from Hosmer, he was able to score from second on a ball that normally he shouldn’t have been able to score on. Hosmer & Butler each had key hits and Cain was on both times. Moustakas again homered. And then the Orioles again came back to tie the game. Though, that’s when Cain’s glove took center stage. Back-to-back brilliant diving catches by Cain kept the Orioles from taking the lead and kept the fire in the Royals dugout. In the 9th, Moustakas set down his power stroke and bunted to get a runner in scoring position which set up Escobar’s double down the line which gave the Royals the lead. Cain added an insurance run with his 4th hit of the game and the bullpen closed it out. Again. Winning Pitcher – Wade Davis. Save – Greg Holland. Game MVP – Lorenzo Cain.
Game 3: The Moose Game
The Royals returned to Kansas City and to the style of baseball that makes my hair fall out. Both runs in Game 3 were driven in on outs. Alex Gordon, in the midst of a glut of strikeouts, went to the plate with the express goal of not striking out. He successfully grounded out to drive in the tying run. The King of the double-play went to the plate two innings later with the express goal of elevating a pitch to the outfield. He successfully hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the go-ahead run. The rest of this game hinged on BRILLIANT bullpen pitching by Frasor, Herrera, Davis, & Holland. Oh, and two highlight plays from Moustakas. The first dive was instinctually brilliant. The second was timing and the flare for the dramatic. Any time you can refer to a catch as your crowd-surfing catch it is a good time. Lost in this was that Infante also had two great defensive plays that he made look so much easier than they were, you could have missed them. Winning Pitcher – Jason Frasor. Save – Greg Holland. Game MVP – The Bullpen
Game 4: The Royals Game
This game epitomizes why no numbers will ever tell you that the Royals will win the World Series. All of the Royals’ runs scored in the first 12 minutes of the game. A grounder to first base and a good slide by Escobar plated two runs. Vargas gave up a home run, but limited the damage. Gordon ran full speed into the wall to make an amazing catch. The bullpen was spectacular. And that was the game. Small ball, defense, and a bullpen again beat a power team. Winning Pitcher – Jason Vargas. Save – Greg Holland. Game MVP – Kelvin Herrera
A long layoff and a rain-out did nothing to dampen the Royals’ momentum. They again took care of a team that is better on paper. 3 down. 1 to go.
So what does that mean for the World Series? Again, I have no idea. But you are going to want to watch this series. You will have no idea who will make the big play or when the key run will score, but you can be assured that there will be big plays, big runs, and close games. And because there’s no good reason to pick them, you can rest assured that my pick is the Royals. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hold my breath for a few more days.
P.S. – Dear Sporting KC… based on what we keep hearing from opponents, can we borrow some of your signage for the World Series? It seems to be appropriate…
Let’s Go Royals!!!!!!