The KC Royals face a critical weekend series against AL Central Division rival Detroit Tigers that begins Friday night. Kansas City sits 7.6 games behind the Indians and 3.0 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central with 29 to play.
It’s desperation time for the Kansas City Royals. They need to finish 21-8 to notch 90 wins, and win 18 to get to 87—which is the average win total for the second wild card since it’s inception in 2012. While those win totals don’t seem difficult but not impossible, the Royals also have to crawl over four teams for the wild card and two for the AL Central title.
Who said it was supposed to be easy?
However, the KC Royals aren’t any strangers to overcoming long odds. They roared back from a 48-50 record in 2014 to finish 89-73 to earn the AL’s top wild card. In that game, they trailed the Oakland A’s by four runs in the eighth inning. They rallied to tie the game in the ninth, allowed the A’s to pull ahead by one run in the 12th, and then scored two in the bottom of the inning to take an improbable 9-8 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
Oh yeah, they also became the first team to ever overcome a four-run, eighth inning deficit in an elimination game.
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In 2015, the Kansas City Royals won eight playoff games after trailing at one point in the game. That run included yet another four-run, eighth inning rally in an elimination game, this time on the road in Houston. They also became the first team to ever mount seven multi-run comebacks in one playoff year. To top it all off, they rallied from a two run deficit in the ninth inning to tie the New York Mets in game 5 of the World Series, and then took the title with a five-run outburst in the top of the 13th.
So, yeah, this isn’t a team that folds under adversity. In fact, they play better.
"“You know what? I was thinking about this the other day. When people discount this team, these guys get angry. There’s motivation. They get better. That’s how we take every bad comment. We’re going to make this guy look bad. We’re going to win today. We’re going to win tomorrow. That computer says we’re going to win 72 games. How many wins we got now?”"
Well, the Kansas City Royals could use some anger beginning Friday night against the Detroit Tigers. Getting swept could pretty much kill the Royals momentum. Taking two of three for a series win would get Kansas City back on track after suffering two consecutive, extra-inning defeats to the New York Yankees. A sweep would pull the KC Royals into a second-place tie with the Tigers in the AL Central.
Regular season series don’t get much bigger.
Here are your pitching match-ups for this important series:
- Danny Duffy (11-2, 3.01 ERA) vs. Anibal Sanchez (7-13, 5.92 ERA) 7:15 CST
- Yordano Ventura (9-9, 4.33 ERA) vs. Michael Fulmer (10-5, 2.69 ERA) 6:15 CST
- Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.37 ERA) vs. Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.86 ERA) 1:15 CST
Game 1 looks to favor Kansas City with ace Danny Duffy going up against Anibal Sanchez. Game 2 looks to favor Detroit on first blush, but Yordano Ventura sports a 2.93 ERA in the second half. Meahwhile, Dillon Gee and Daniel Norris look like a good match with Gee settling in as a starter in his last few starts.
Also not that the KC Royals found Rally Mantis II in Detroit in early August after Rally Mantis I gave up the ghost in Minnesota.
This is September baseball, baby. Crunch time.