Five Games that Could Have Landed Kansas City Royals a Playoff Spot

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 19: Joe Mauer /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 08: Center fielder Joc Pederson
LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 08: Center fielder Joc Pederson /

3.) July 8 at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Kansas City Royals had a pretty good middle third of the season. It’s why you didn’t see a game from June make the list. It also left few options in July. But this one makes sense on a lot of fronts.

After sweeping the Mariners on the road, the Royals headed south to face the hottest team in baseball right before the All-Star break. All three games of the series were close, but Kansas City could not get the better of the Los Angeles Dodgers in any of the games. The July 8 contest—the middle one of the series—was the team’s best chance.

A win would have shown the Kansas City Royals—and everybody else—that they could still compete with the best teams in MLB. It also could have given them the momentum to keep from losing four of five to open the second half.

In this game, the Royals fell into an early 3-0 hole. Joc Pederson hit a two-run homer and Justin Turner had a sacrifice fly within the first three innings. But the visitors narrowed the deficit with a run apiece in the fourth and fifth innings.

Whit Merrifield tied the game on an RBI-single in the seventh inning. Perez socked a solo homer—his 18th of the year—just out of the reach of Pederson to give the Kansas City Royals a 4-3 lead in the eighth.

That’s when the all-but-certain National League Rookie of the Year took over. Facing Soria, Cody Bellinger homered—already his 25th of the season—to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. In the 10th, Scott Alexander walked the bases loaded to open the frame. Herrera came on and promptly walked Bellinger to end it.