KC Royals: Five Keys To Taking The Pennant In ALCS Game 5
By John Viril
Oct 20, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) hits a sacrifice fly during the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in game four of the ALCS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
4. LEADOFF HITTER ALCIDES ESCOBAR NEEDS TO KEEP HACKING
The sabermetrics revolution tells us that you want a strong on base percentage guy taking the most at bats in your lineup. It’s even better if your leadoff hitter is patient, because that will not only help him draw walks, but it also helps wear down starters to enable you to get into your opponent’s bullpen.
Then there’s Kansas City Royals leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar.
Escobar is nothing like what sabermetric models tells us that a leadoff hitter should be. Alcides Escobar has a mere .298 career OBP. He walks only 4.2 percent of the time over his eight-year career. He’s a hacker that doesn’t take pitches. His on-base-plus-slugging is a mere .642, which is hardly the hitter you want taking the most at bats on the team.
Yet the KC Royals stand 17-7 in 24 post-season games in which Alcides Escobar leads off. They’re 33 games over .500 in the 2015 when Escobar hits from the no. 1 hole. Alcides Escobar has set a ALCS record by starting off four consecutive games with a hit.
The Kansas City Royals success with Alcides Escobar at the top of the lineup makes no sense. But it works.
That’s why Alcides Escobar needs to keep hacking. You can’t argue with success.
Who knows, maybe Escobar’s fifth straight hit to begin an ALCS game will be the one that triggers a rally that puts the KC Royals in control of the game.
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