AL Wild Card: It’s the Royals time!

imagesYou’ve heard, I’m sure, a few times the Royals are into the postseason for the first time since 1985. Of course, that was a World Series championship against the I-70 rivals. It’s been a long time. And for Royals fans, the past five years we have listened to “experts” talk about the talented minor league system the Royals have put together. We have seen guys like Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas and others have tremendous success in Omaha and struggle when they get to the big club. Then, it finally started to come together. The Royals have put together a solid rotation, they have one of the best 7, 8, 9th inning setups in all of baseball and the lineup has been able to do enough. 

The Royals aren’t a flashy team, but they are fun to watch. They don’t have a player rank int he top five in any offensive category in Major League Baseball, and when it comes to the American League the only player who makes an appearance in a category leader is Jarrod Dyson with 36 stolen bases. They rank last in Homeruns with 95, but have struck out the least amount of any team this season. They rank 5th in hits and are 7th in doubles and 13th in triples. And they have stolen more bases (153) than any other team. See, exciting.

When asked how I became a Royals fan, I can’t really answer the question. I don’t know. It wasn’t like I hopped on board with a team that was winning. When the Royals closed out the Series against St. Louis it was October 27, 1985. I wasn’t even a sight in this world until 34 days later. I’ve never known success for a MLB team.

Yesterday on my radio show “On the John” one of my guests was a good friend and long-time Royals fan Mike Henriksen. As I asked him about the Royals in the playoffs he fired back, “I have to ask you this. Cause for me, ok, it’s 29 years since they got in. And I’m a Nebraska boy and they’ve been my team since they first came around. You are a Royals fan. How on Earth? What has kept you…..Me, I have too much time invested to give up on them as much as I’ve wanted to give them a few times. You, you’re young, you could’ve picked a different team. You’ve never seen any success. Why do you hang with them?”

For me, truly, it was probably because they were on TV a lot. And when I went to Kauffman Stadium I fell in love with the place. It’s been a couple years since I have been able to go to a game, but I love to catch them on TV when they are on and I have listened to a lot of games on the radio.

Tonight, when the Royals take the field against Oakland it will be quite a feeling. It will be something that I personally have never experienced before and now, as a fan, I hope they extend their stay in the playoffs. Whichever team is leading after six innings has a real chance to close the game out. Call it loyalty or bias or whatever, but I’m picking the Royals to get passed Oakland and on to the ALDS.

Some things to know:

In September:
Kansas City: 19-10
Oakland: 10-16

How they finished:
Kansas City: 6-2 in last eight, won final two series.
Oakland: 2-4 in final six games, lost or split final two series.

Season series:
Kansas City won both series in the second half of the season going 5-2 against the A’s

Starting pitchers:
Kansas City: James Shields 14-8, 3.21 ERA. Last win was Sep. 10 at Detroit. Has not won a playoff game since 2008.

Oakland: Jon Lester 16-7, 2.46 ERA. Lester won both games for A’s against KC in regular season and Lester is 3-0 against the Royals in the second half of the season (1 with Boston).

Prediction:
Royals 5
A’s 3

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