I’m pretty sure I’ve started this column 30 different ways already and my backspace button has gotten the most work of anything on my keyboard. I could possibly blame it on having only 2 hours of sleep, but it’s really just all of the joy, the relief, and the attachment the city has with this team that makes me want to talk about everything. I’ll just try to collect my thoughts in a few areas. If you want much better write-ups, scroll down to the bottom and find some of the best of the best.
Tangent: While I would rather be basking in the excitement of the city back home, it’s been fun today traveling. I have been wearing Royals gear all day and have had no fewer than 15 random people congratulate me on the Royals’ win. It’s been pretty cool.
I’ll try to recap this game and then I want to share the crazy history and wild stats that took place in this series.
This is less of a bulleted list like previous games because, frankly it came down to just a few things –
Matt Harvey – I shared a meme on Facebook that was a great quote from Two-Face in “The Dark Knight” (Harvey’s nickname). I shared it because I thought it was a perfect use of a meme, but it discounted what Harvey did last night. He pitched as well or better than anyone else in the postseason for 8 innings. He was filthy. Everything worked. And he delivered everything that was expected. Until. He’s a competitor and a fighter so I understand wanting to be out there in the 9th, not unlike Johnny Cueto in Game 2. However, that came back to bite them and he is now getting far too much criticism for what he did. (How about that New York media doing a bang up job of discounting a surprise run all the way to the World Series?!)
Grand Larceny – The Royals ran. And they ran. Whether it was Cain and Dyson stealing bases like they were hoping to undo the great A.M. Crunchwrap debacle coming up on Thursday, or Hosmer making a gutsy decision that both Hosmer and 3B Coach Mike Jirschele initially thought was a HUGE mistake that turned out to be the tying run, the Royals ran like their reputation implied they would.
Defense Wins Championships – That may be an oversimplification. Defense really can’t win championships in baseball. However, a lack of defense can absolutely lose a championship, and the Mets felt that pain throughout this series and it showed up again last night. Murphy, Cespedes, Duda, Wright… they all impacted their team negatively with their defense. Of course, perennial gold glover Eric Hosmer did his part to give it back with defense as well, but the rest of the Royals picked him up.
Pitching Royalty – While Matt Harvey was the most impressive pitcher on the day, the Royals pitching staff did exactly what they needed just like they have all series. Don’t overlook the fact that Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis combined to give up exactly ZERO runs over the entire postseason.
Superstars – Let’s be honest… there isn’t a superstar on the Royals. And that’s what makes this team work. Who scored the go-ahead run? Jarrod Dyson, a 50th round draft pick. And who drove in the go-ahead run? Christian Colon, who spent much of the year in Omaha and who didn’t touch the field once in the postseason before that hit. It’s a beautiful thing.
The Stats, the Craziness, and the History that was the 2015 Postseason
- Alcides Escobar – Most hits (23) by a SS in a single Postseason in History; Longest postseason hitting streak in a single postseason (15 games); First player to HR on the first pitch his team saw in a World Series
- Ben Zobrist – Tied for most doubles (8) in a Postseason, and set the AL record for doubles in a postseason
- Lorenzo Cain – Reached base in a Royals record 20 consecutive postseason games
- Eric Hosmer – Most career postseason RBI (29) in Royals history; Second most RBI in first 31 postseason games behind Lou Gehrig; Slid across home with the tying run after exactly 17 hours and 38 minutes of play in the World Series.
- Raul A. Mondesi – First player in major league history to make his major league debut in the World Series
- Johnny Gomes – First player in major league history to get a championship ring strictly due to the chicken pox
- Christian Colon – First player to drive in a Series-clinching run in the first World Series plate appearance of his career; His 2 career postseason hits – Game Tying hit in 12th inning of Wild Card game 2014, Go-ahead hit in 12th inning of final game of World Series 2015
- Alex Gordon – First player to ever send Game 1 of a World Series into extra innings on a HR
- Wade Davis – Second player in history to strikeout the side in extra innings of a World Series game
- Chris Young – Third player in history to strikeout the side in extra innings of a World Series game (same game as Wade)
- Yordano Ventura – Only the 2nd pitcher to ever make 9 postseason starts before the age of 25
- Salvador Perez – Only player in MLB history to win the World Series MVP the year after making the final out of the season
- Paulo Orlando – First player from Brazil to play in a World Series
- Ned Yost – Has the highest winning percentage in postseason history for managers with at least 20 postseason games managed
- Won 11 games in the postseason. Trailed in the 6th inning of 6 of them.
- First team to win three games in which they trailed in the eighth inning or later in a single World Series.
- The Royals had seven wins in which they trailed by multiple runs. That’s two more than the second most ever. (They only did that 11 times in 162 games in the regular season)
- The Royals scored 40 runs from the eighth inning or later in the postseason. No other playoff team scored more than five runs. They also outscored their opponents 51-11 from the 7th inning on.
The Magic Number:
My Favorite Other Thoughts:
- Joe Posnanski – Long May They Reign
- Jeff Passan – The Epic Story
- Andy McCullough – World Champs
- Chris “The Fake Ned” Kamler – Heart (pardon the 2nd sentence)
- Jayson Stark – Mission Never Impossible