In a twist of fortunes predicted by almost no one, the Royals have somehow managed to muscle their way into the ALCS.
But the Royals didn’t just happen into the ALCS with luck. They earned a spot in the series. The Royals shut down one of the most high-powered offenses in baseball: a team consisting of players like Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. In addition to superb pitching, the Royals brought their bats along with them, using the long ball as a weapon in their victories.
The 2014 Royals are renowned for their incredible bullpen, led by the three-headed monster of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. However, while they have got key performances from those three, they have also obtained impressive bullpen appearances from the likes of Brandon Finnegan and Jason Frasor. These two have complimented an impressive starting rotation and a great bullpen, allowing the Royals to continue to shut down both the Angels and the Athletics in extra innings– an incredibly difficult feat.
Most impressive throughout the series was the resilience of the pitching staff. Time and time again, the team would give up an early walk or have the leadoff man get a hit, but it seemed that the pitchers always worked out of the jam.
Of course this credit cannot be given to the pitchers alone, as the outfield had a fantastic series as well. Jarrod Dyson, Nori Aoki and Lorenzo Cain all made Gold Glove-worthy plays, and Alex Gordon was his usual self. The tremendous outfield play was complemented by a consistent infield. The Royals only had one error during the entire series.
The series attests to the Royals proficiency as a team. Though they hardly ever hit home runs or score more than four runs a game, the offense picks up when it has to. When one person on the offense gets hot, the others seem to feed off of him.
While they are hardly the most-talented team, the Royals are one of the most fluid. This sense of togetherness, not talent, is what will power Kansas City through the postseason.
The extraordinary run by the Royals has really enabled me to showcase my pride in my city. Throughout my life Kansas City has been regarded as a blip on the map, an uninteresting city that no one really cares about. This notion has only been confirmed to me on my trips to the East Coast, as many of the kids I have met simply laugh when I tell them I live in Kansas City.
But now with a newfound relevance in baseball, the city itself is gaining relevance. Even President Obama complimented KC. More and more people are seeing the city for what it truly is: a place full of vibrance, enthusiasm and American culture. In essence, the Royals have succeeded in highlighting our city’s cultural value.
Regardless of how they do it, the Royals are winning. And in the process of winning, they are firing up a city which has lacked baseball fever for a good 29 years. The Royals seem poised to make an even deeper run in the playoffs, and though it will be difficult, they have an excellent chance to power by the Baltimore Orioles and clinch a World Series berth.