By Jacob G.
Last season, the Kansas City Royals were one game away from winning the World Series against the San Francisco Giants, and this year the Royals were back on baseball’s biggest stage.
Everyone knew the Royals were going to be a top team when they returned with 7/9 of their position players, including superstars, catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, and left fielder Alex Gordon. They opened the season with a seven-game winning streak, and went into the playoffs with a six-game winning streak. They finished with a 95-67 record, which is good for the number one team in the American League–and the reward for that is home-field advantage for key games throughout the postseason.
With their impressive record, that meant that they would face the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series, who were led by José Altuvé and 21-year old phenom Carlos Correa.
In game one of the American League Division Series, Kendrys Morales’ two home runs were not enough, as the Astros got on the board early. In game two, Houston scored four runs in the first three innings, while the Royals scored just two, but the Royals rebounded, scoring three more, which got pitcher Kelvin Herrera the win. Game three switched to Houston, in which ace Dallas Keuchel gave up only two runs, in a 4-2 win for the ‘Stros. In game four, the Astros, up 6-2, thanks to two home runs by Correa, were six outs away from beating the league’s number one team. Nevertheless, clutch Kansas City came back and scored seven runs, to force a game five. The final game of the series took place at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, and the 40,000+ fans saw their Royals win. Houston scored two runs in the 2nd, but that’s all they would get, thanks to a great performance by their trade deadline acquisition and ace, Johnny Cueto, as Kansas City roared back with seven unanswered runs, to send them to the American League Championship Series.
Pitching Coach Dave Eiland said this about Cueto’s performance, “That’s why we got him, to pitch games like tonight, and he showed up big for us.”
The Royals were ready to face the Toronto Blue Jays, who were fired up after José Bautista blasted a go-ahead home run that eliminated the Texas Rangers. The Blue Jays led the league (in the regular season) in home runs, runs scored, doubles, batting average, RBIs, hits, total at bats, and other stats, thanks to slugger Josh Donaldson, and many other key players in one of the most stacked lineups seen in years.
Game one was all in favour of the Royals, as five different players had RBIs, while Edinson Volquez finished with two hits over six innings, with five strikeouts. Game two also went to The Crowns, after they scored five unanswered runs following a meltdown by pitcher David Price, en route to a 6-2 win with Morales getting two RBIs. Game three was in Toronto, and the home-field advantage really helped them, as Toronto took a 9-2 lead at one point in the game, and ended up winning 11-8, thanks to home runs from Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, and Ryan Goins. Marcus Stroman, who returned from a torn ACL injury, which he suffered in Spring Training, also got the win. Game four was all Kansas City, and after a hot 4-0 start, they eventually won the game 14-2, thanks to nine total RBIs from their one, two, and three spots in the lineup. The Jays won game five, thanks to four doubles from various players, and stellar pitching from Marco Estrada, in which he allowed only three hits and one run in 7 and 2/3 innings pitched. Game six returned to Kansas City, and they got on the board early, after home runs from Ben Zobrist and Mike Moustakas. Bautista hit two home runs later in the game, but Eric Hosmer delivered the series-clinching run, which eliminated the BJ’s. Alcides Escobar was named the ALCS Most Valuable Player Award, with a .478 batting average, 11 hits, and six runs scored over the course of the series.
Lorenzo Cain said this about the Royals getting back to baseball’s biggest stage, “We came in with one goal…and that was to get back.”
The stage was set: the Kansas City Royals were back to the World Series, where they would face the New York Mets, a team with great pitching and powerful hitting, including trade deadline acquisition Yoenis Céspedes, and David Murphy, who set a MLB Postseason record with six consecutive home runs.
Since the American League won the All-Star Game, that meant the Royals would have home-field advantage. Boy, did the World Series start out right for the Royals, as Escobar hit an inside-the-park homerun on the first pitch from Mets’ star pitcher Matt Harvey. Although going into the 9th inning the Royals were down 4-3, Alex Gordon hit a home run to centre field to tie the game. After four scoreless extra innings, the Royals’ Eric Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly in front of the 106.4% full Kaufman Stadium, that was at hand to start off the series right for them. Game two was Cueto vs. Mets’ young gun Jacob deGrom, and after Lucas Duda singled to give the Mets a 1-0 lead, it was all Kansas City from there. Five different players had RBIs, as Escobar and Hosmer each had two. Game three shifted to New York, and after the Royals took a 3-2 lead, the Metropolitans scored seven unanswered runs. David Wright and Curtis Granderson each had a home run, while Noah Syndergaard–another young pitcher for the Mets got the win. In Game four, the Mets thought they’d figured out the Royals, after they led 3-1 thanks to two home runs from Michael Conforto (who became the youngest player since Miguel Cabrera to hit a home run in the World Series). Once again, it wad the Royals who came back, and they won the game 5-3, thanks to RBIs from Cain, Hosmer, Moustakas and Pérez. It looked like the Mets would take Game 5, with Curtis Granderson hitting a home run and later scoring a run, but the Royals were clutch once again, as Hosmer doubled to score Cain, and Pérez grounded out to score Hosmer. To make the story even better, that happened in the 9th, to send the game to extras. There was no scoring in the 10th and 11th, but Christian Colón and Escobar had RBIs, while Cain capped the top of the 12th with a three-run double. In the bottom half, closer Wade Davis struck out Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud, and after Conforto got on base, Davis struck out Wilmer Flores to close the deal.
When manager Nick Yost was asked about the win he said, “I couldn’t have written a better script.”
Perez took home World Series MVP, as he had a .364 batting average and stood behind the plate for 51 innings in the World Series.
The entire postseason, the Royals proved that they were clutch, time and time again. In eight out of sixteen games they played, the Royals came back to take the lead and win the game. In the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings, throughout the entire postseason, the Royals scored a total of 47 runs, and almost half of those runs came in the eighth inning, where they scored 22 in total.
Once the game was over, the Royals celebrated right beside the pitchers’ mound, and two days later the Royals had the World Series Parade. There were eight hundred thousand people watching the parade, which is 330,000 more than the actual population of Kansas City. Businesses in downtown Kansas City used their conference rooms to view the parade. Also patients who had appointments in a downtown hospital canceled them, while many schools closed so they could watch the parade. The fans really showed that they were behind the team, from the start of the season, all the way to the end.
From the fans, to the clutch baseball they played time and time again, the Royals proved that they should sit atop the baseball world and the throne once again.
The Royals Celebrate Their Fantastic Win
A Portion of The 800,000 Fans Who Were There For the Parade