Kansas City Royals finish season with 6-4 victory, 89 wins


The Kansas City Royals finished the regular season with a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox, and one game behind the Detroit Tigers in the final Central Division standings.

One game.

Yet, despite the disappointment of not catching the Tigers to at least force a tie-breaker game-163 at Comerica Park, the Royals secured the first Wild Card spot in the American League and will host the Oakland Athletics Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
For a team and its playoff-starved city, both will take it.

The Royals proved to be a second half team, going 41-27 since the All Star break. After dropping their first four games out of the gate after the break, they won eleven straight series. Their Achilles heel down the stretch was their inability to take care of the Tigers (2-4 record head-to-head).

Royals fans could pick and point to a myriad of moments to place blame for not getting one more win, especially with Manager Ned Yost and some head-scratching moves. Remember, just a week ago Yost had his best hitters bunt not once, not twice, but three times in a two-game span with runners in scoring position in tight games. Yost’s decision-making aside, the Tigers could point to every time closer Joe Nathan took the mound to save a game as reason the division ending up so tight.

It all works out in the wash.

After 162 games, it just feels good as a Royals fan to not have to go into reflection mode just yet. The Royals, for the first time in 29 years, have more to look forward to.

Kauffman Stadium will be alive Tuesday when the A’s come to town for a one-game Wild Card game.

One and done.

One team will go home. One will move on to face the Los Angeles Angels in the American League Division Series best-of-five.
Royals ace James Shields will face Jon Lester. Lester (16-11, 2.46) is 3-0 with a 2.61 earned run average against the Royals this year. In his one appearance at Kauffman Stadium this year, he is 1-0 and gave up three runs in six innings in that, his only outing in Kansas City. A small sample size.

If you are a Royals fan and you’re looking for something, anything to hang your hat on, you look at Lester’s home ERA (1.95) and his road ERA (3.07), and you’re glad you host this one game.

Shields (14-8, 3.21) was brought to Kansas City for several reasons, perhaps this game being the pinnacle of the trade that sent the Royals best hitting prospect in years in exchange for Shields and Wade Davis.

Shields, unlike Lester, is not as good at home this year as on the road. At home this year, Shields is 4-6 with a 3.51 ERA. On the road, he is 10-2 with a 2.73 ERA.

Yet, the A’s finished in a full-fledged slide. They just posted a 10-16 record in September. This after posting an 11-18 record in August. The Royals finished 19-10 in August and 15-12 in September.

The Royals own a 5-2 record against the A’s this year. They took two out of three in early August, and three out of four the following week. Shields claimed one of those wins, at the Coliseum. Lester got both A’s victories, one at home and one at the “K.”
For the first time in nearly three decades, the Royals are moving on. Perhaps, for the first time all year they will beat Lester.

For once, fans in Kansas City are not looking back on the past 162 games. They are looking ahead, one game at a time.

NOTABLES: The last two times the All Star game was hosted in Minnesota was 1985 and this year. The Toronto Blue Jays now own the Major’s longest post-season drought at 20 seasons.

Go Royals!