Oct 23, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) scores a run past Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (right) in the 8th inning in game six of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
1. ROYALS LATE-INNING MAGIC WILL RULE
The biggest reason I believe the Kansas City Royals will win the 2015 World Series is that their late-inning magic will allow them to steal at least one critical game.
Forget about numbers. Something happens to this KC Royals lineup when their back is against the wall. Under pressure, they become much tougher outs at the plate. The Kansas City Royals have made a habit of pulling out playoff games in the late innings over the last two post-seasons.
By this time, it’s clear those comebacks are no accident.
In 2014, the Kansas City Royals became the first team in major-league history to overcome a four-run eighth-inning deficit to win an elimination game by stunning the Oakland A’s 9-8 in the AL wild card game.
The Royals followed that up by winning a major-league record four extra-inning games in one post-season in 2014. And, they then pulled off four come-from-behind victories in the 2015 season—which included a second four-run rally to stave off elimination against the Astros in the ALDS, and a three-run rally in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays to take Game 2 of the ALCS.
All of the above caused Grantland writer Rany Jazayerli (and KC Royals super-fan) to proclaim the 2015 Royals “unkillable“.
That’s not even considering their late-inning heroics to take Game 6.
Interestingly enough, an outstanding piece from Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci reveals that the KC Royals late inning victories are as much about perspiration as inspiration.
The Kansas City Royals advance scouts spotted Blue Jays ace David Price tipping his change-up, which played a big part in their Game 2 rally. They also identified his habits with regard to holding base-runners, and another tell that allowed Royals base-runners to take off on his first motion.
That little detail allowed Eric Hosmer to avoid a double play by running against a pitcher who had not allowed a stolen base all season.
To top off their mastery of winning small edges, the advance scouts noticed Toronto right-fielder Jose Bautista habitually threw to second rather than first base on hits into the right-field corner. That analysis allowed third base coach Mike Jirchele to send speedy Lorenzo Cain to home plate on a single by Eric Hosmer in the 8th inning of Game 6.
Cain merely scored the winning run in a 4-3 game.
I believe the KC Royals combination of offensive versatility, moxie, and attention to detail make them a team that can exploit any small weakness of their opponent.
In the end, I think that ability will allow the Kansas City Royals to win the 2015 World Series.