Five Games that Could Have Landed Kansas City Royals a Playoff Spot
1.) Sept. 14 at Cleveland
By this point in the season, the Kansas City Royals needed every single win they could collect to have any chance of reaching the postseason. That’s why a four-game set in Cleveland seemed to be a tall task no matter the circumstances. But given the home team entered on a 21-game winning streak, the Royals were up against history, too.
Kansas City struck first in the second inning. Moustakas grounded into a double-play that scored Hosmer but kept the Royals from putting up a big inning. Cleveland tied the game on Lonnie Chisenhall‘s RBI-single in the third.
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Hosmer handed the Kansas City Royals a sixth-inning lead on a double to score Melky Cabrera. Jake Junis looked to be in line for a streak-busting victory after pitching 5 2/3 solid frames. Minor and Ryan Buchter kept Cleveland at bay through the eighth inning.
With a 2-1 lead, Yost turned to Herrera to close the game out. Having recently been demoted, Herrera retired two of the first three batters of the inning. With pinch-runner Erik Gonzalez on first base, Francisco Lindor hit a double off the wall on a 2-2 count to extend the game.
Brandon Maurer handed Cleveland the win in the 10th. A leadoff double by Jose Ramirez, a walk by Edwin Encarnacion and a double by Jay Bruce ended proceedings.
The Kansas City Royals won the next night to finally end the streak. However, this loss—and the other four listed here—helped keep the team from reaching the postseason.
Next: Relive the Best of the 2014 Postseason
Clearly, there are several games that could be looked back on as missed opportunities. In theory, the Kansas City Royals lost 82 games that could have been wins. Hopefully, the number of losses—particularly those with late blown leads—convinces the front office to restock the bullpen.