Festivities, 'HDH' bobbleheads headline big 2014 KC Royals weekend celebration

Kansas City to honor 2014 AL champions all weekend.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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Kelvin Herrera was the first line of defense

Herrera's early path in the big leagues wasn't smooth; he debuted late in 2011 but later bounced back and forth between Kansas City and Triple-A Omaha. He had a couple of auditions for the closer role and, while he looked great at times, struggled with the long ball and failed to lock down the position.

His turnaround came in 2014, when manager Ned Yost made him the seventh-inning guy in the HDH trio of dominant late-inning relievers assigned to close out wins. Herrera repaid Yost's trust by going 4-3 with a 1.41 ERA and 1.143 WHIP in 70 games. He didn't slow down in the postseason, appearing in 11 games, giving up only three runs and striking out 16 in 13.6 innings, and winning Game 2 of the World Series.

The Royals carried this successful formula over to 2015 until Holland went down with an elbow injury in September. That forced Herrera to the eighth-inning spot, but thanks to Luke Hochevar, who became the primary seventh-inning man, the club skipped scarcely a beat. It didn't even have to change the initials of the back-end of the bullpen, although HHD didn't have quite the same ring as HDH.

Herrera stuck with the eighth inning through the 2016 season, but after Davis was traded to the Cubs, he moved into the closer role in 2017. He wasn't bad there, converting 26 of 31 save opportunities, but his career-worst 4.25 ERA suggests the Royals were at their strongest when he was in the seventh-inning spot.