After completing a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS, the Kansas City Royals are heading back to the World Series for the first time since 1985.
Combining awesome relief pitching, timely hitting, speed and great defense, the Royals swept their way through the American League Playoffs to a tune of an 8-0 record. This after Ned Yost’s club was down four runs in the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics in the wild card game.
It is among the most improbable runs to the World Series in the recent history of Major League Baseball. And it represents the first time since the debut year of the Nintendo Entertainment System that Kansas City will represent the American League in the World Series.
Wednesday’s series-clinching Game 4 win was par for the course for these Royals. Jason Vargas pitched into the sixth inning, giving up just two hits and a run. Meanwhile, the combination of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland recorded the final 11 outs of the game to preserve a 2-1 Royals victory. It represented Holland’s fourth save of the series, which is obviously a modern day playoff record for a seven-game series.
Kansas City scored its only two runs in the first inning without getting the ball out of the infield. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph dropped a throw home from first baseman Steve Pearce, allowing both Alcides Escobar and Norichika Aoki to score on the play.
For Kansas City, it represents a turnaround of epic proportions. This is a team that had just one winning season from 1994-2012, before breaking through with 86 wins a season ago.
The Royals will face the winner of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. Interestingly enough, the last time Kansas City made the playoffs (let alone the World Series) was when it defeated St. Louis in the 1985 World Series.
San Francisco has the upper hand in the NLCS two games to one.