The KC Royals won a memorable World Series title in 2015 that included a record seven multi-run comebacks to win in the playoffs. The 2016 Royals have the chance to upstage their 2015 title run with one of the great late-season comebacks in baseball history.
Yes, it’s still unlikely that the Kansas City Royals even make the playoffs. As of August 19, Fangraphs.com estimates Kansas City post-season chances at 1.5%. On August 1, those odds were 0.4%. Oh, and Fangraphs.com says the KC Royals still have a 0.0% chance to win the World Series. They’re saying that after KC has won 9 of their last 11 games.
For a team that has made a habit of overcoming impossible odds the last two post-seasons, winning the World Series in 2016 would make this Kansas City Royals team the king of improbable victories.
A Royals title this season would be the most emphatic refutation imaginable to the sabermetric idea that “clutch” is just an imaginary creation of small sample sizes.
Winning the World Series after starting August at 49-55 would rank among the greatest second half rallies in baseball history. Much like this season’s Kansas City Royals, the 2009 Minnesota Twins trailed Detroit Tigers by 9.5 games on August 1. But, the Twins were at least a .500 team. They did overcome a seven game deficit on Sept. 7 to win the division. Minnesota did not win a title, however.
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The Miracle Mets of 1969 trailed the Cubs by 9.5 games on August 13 before surging in the final six weeks to overtake Chicago and win the 1969 World Series over the Baltimore Orioles. On that same date, the KC Royals trailed the Indians by 11.0 games.
For sustained second-half excellence, it’s hard to surpass the 1951 New York Giants who finished 50-12 to tie the Brooklyn Dodgers for the NL pennant. The Giants won a three game playoff on a three-run home run by Bobby Thompson to overcome a 4-2 deficit. That home run is so famous that it’s remembered as “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World”.
So, yes, the mountain that the KC Royals have to climb is steep. And, it would rank among some of the great second-half comebacks in major-league history. But, none of those teams can say they produced a historic comeback for THREE SEASONS IN A ROW.
Basically, you’d have the 2014 team that roared back from a four-run deficit in the eighth inning of an elimination game to win the wild card game against the Oakland’s A’s. That had never been done before in baseball history. Then the 2015 team repeated the four-run deficit/eighth inning feat against the Houston Astros in the ALDS. That was the first time such a comeback had happened on the road in playoff history. Finally, the 2016 team will have to overcome an 11 game deficit in August.
Oh, yeah, and as I mentioned above, the 2015 KC Royals also added eight comeback wins out of 11 playoff victories, including seven multi-run comebacks.
Of course, this presumes the Kansas City Royals go on to playoff glory in 2016. But, if this team can horn their way into the tournament, who is going to doubt their ability to win the whole thing? The KC Royals will certainly believe they can do it. Their opponents will all know that you can’t count Kansas City out until they’re eliminated.
They own TVs just like the rest of us.
The playoff odds remain long for the Kansas City Royals. But, their awful July has set them up with the chance to become baseball legends.