Royals Authority

Deconstructing The Process

Some random stuff that needs to be discussed before the Royals return to the ALCS this evening…

— The Orioles announced right-hander Chris Tillman as Game One starter. Tillman led the O’s in innings and his 3.34 ERA was second on the staff. His 2.4 fWAR was similarly the second-best mark.

Tillman’s .267 BABIP was the 12th lowest mark among AL starters. You may think the BABIP gods were smiling on Tillman, but that mark is in line with his performance over the past three seasons. His GB/FB ratio is close to 1 so everyone gets in the action when he’s on the mound. That’s a good thing for Tillman, as the Baltimore defense has been among the best in baseball again this year.

Tillman works fastball, curve and change. His fastball averages in the low 90s but has late action that creeps up on the hitters. The Royals can go up looking first pitch fastball, but if they fall behind in the count, they’ll have to be on guard for the curve. If Tillman is even or ahead in the count, he’ll throw the curve nearly 25 percent of the time. It’s a pitch that has a sharp 12-6 break and it’s one that generates plenty of ground balls. Tillman approaches hitters from both sides of the plate largely the same, but will mix in a cut fastball to right-handed batters on occasion.

— One of the more intriguing story lines is how Mike Moustakas is approaching his plate appearances. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but here’s his spray chart in four postseason games:

Moose_PS_Spray

Two bombs to right, another deep fly out and a bunch of balls put in play to the left. I’m not going to go so far as to claim he’s “fixed” because after nearly 2,000 major league plate appearances and a slash line of .236/.290/.379, I continue to question his ability to be an everyday contributor. He’s picked the right time to finally focus on working the count, making solid contact and going with the pitch on the outer half of the plate.

— Ned Yost announced his starting lineup. Be shocked:

Alcides Escobar
Nori Aoki
Lorenzo Cain
Eric Hosmer
Billy Butler
Alex Gordon
Sal Perez
Omar Infante
Mike Moustakas

The last time the Royals started with anything different was September 20th.

— There’s been a more than a little talk surrounding Game One starter James Shields and his upcoming foray into free agency. Rumblings on the Unnamed Executive Street have his next contract around five years and upwards of $80 million. That’s a hefty price to pay for a starting pitcher who will be 33 next season. There will be more time to discuss after the postseason, but I would imagine the Royals will make a cursory run at Shields, but he’s still moving to another team. Perhaps he would be so good as to give the Royals an opportunity to match an offer, but with the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels expected to be in the running for his services, I can’t imagine the Royals will pony up the cash.

We’ve seen the business model the Royals will be continuing to use – trading of prospects for pitching help under contract. One of my major gripes on the Shields-Myers trade was that was the sort of deal you make when you’re a player or two away from contention. At the time of the trade, it felt like the Royals were much further away that Shields and Wade Davis. Now the nucleus of this postseason team is still under team control for another couple of seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised if Moore walked the same path this winter and sent some prospects in exchange for a frontline player or two.

Either way, it’s early days for speculation. There’s still baseball to be played.

— Apparently, Omar Infante has been battling shoulder soreness. Oh, really? Didn’t we hear this in March? And in April? And at some point in May? You get the picture. He’s been broken for most of the season and the numbers back that up. The black hole his bat is in the lineup becomes a little less noticeable when Moustakas is hitting behind him.

— One of my favorite subplots of this ALCS will be the defense. According to The Fielding Bible, the Orioles have the best defense in the AL at 49 runs saved. The Royals are second at 40 runs saved. The Orioles value is spread fairly evenly through the field. The Royals value comes from a loaded outfield. Baseball Prospectus’ Defensive Efficiency – the measure of turning balls put into play into outs – has Baltimore third and the Royals sixth.

— My prediction: Royals in six.

Just judging by Chris Tillman’s numbers, I suspect he has something in common with Royals pitchers like Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie: average stuff, slightly below average peripherals, but an elite defense behind him giving him good results. Everything about the righty’s pitch mix and velocities say “normal MLB pitcher” to me (data from 2013-14 combined): a 91 MPH four-seamer used 63% of the time, 76 MPH curve for 17% of his pitches, and an 83 MPH change 14% of the time. There seems to be little special about his fastball—it is actually straighter than most—but he has somehow turned it into a weapon over the last two seasons. He may have just figured out how to spot it. He was getting hitters out with the fastball up and above the zone in game one of the ALDS vs. Detroit:

He lasted five innings and yielded two runs on two solo dongs (both off his fastball) in that game. His average fastball speed jumped all the way to 94, perhaps fueled by adrenaline and a hyped home crowd. Tillman hasn’t pitched for eight days, so I’ll be curious to see his fastball speeds tonight with a fresh arm and another big game atmosphere.

Tillman’s curve has excellent 12-6 bite, and is a good ground-ball inducer, but it and the change have gotten Tillman below average results over the last two years, perhaps being used more to set up the fastball.

I’ve identified a handful of other righties that feature a similar pitch mix and velocities to Tillman. 12 pitchers that Royals hitters have faced roughly match Tillman by throwing an 89-94 MPH fastball 55%-72% of the time, a 77-81 MPH curveball 7%-25% of the time, and a 82-86 MPH change-up 4%-24% of the time over the last two years combined.* Of course not all these pitchers are equals, no doubt featuring differing qualities of movement and command. But I compiled the KC starting nine’s results against those 12 plus Tillman, and I like what I see (sorted by OPS):

Wow. I like seeing Alex and Billy at the top, the worst hitter by OPS slugging .421, and a team-wide OPS of .771. Tillman is probably a little tougher than the overall group, but I’m cautiously optimistic about the match-up. And I do mean cautious—as Royals fans know, the KC offense is capable of falling off the face of the earth and making any pitcher look like Walter Johnson for a night. That side of the offense actually showed up on May 16 this year at Kauffman Stadium against…Chris Tillman. Tillman hurled his first and, so far, only career shutout. Aoki led off the Royals half of the first inning with a double, and that was about it for offense the rest of the night:

So who knows. Anything can happen in one game. But if the Royals bats haven’t gone to sleep during this long downtime between series, I’m hopeful they can jump on Tillman for a few runs early.

Shoutout to the amazing Fangraphs.com, Baseball-Reference.com, and BrooksBaseball.net for aiding this article.

*My 12 Tillman comps are: Shelby Miller, Jarred Cosart, Charlie Morton, Paul Clemens, Randall Delgado, Anthony Varvaro, Samuel Deduno, Ian Kennedy, Michael Wacha, Scott Carroll, Kris Medlen, Edinson Volquez.

Part of the allure of baseball is it’s connection to the past. Old-timers are celebrated. Championship teams are revered. Everyone loves a winner. In baseball, they’re never forgotten.

That’s a good thing.

The Royals, it seems, have been stuck in this time warp. It’s both literal and figurative. This team doesn’t hit home runs! Just like baseball in 1985. They steal loads of bases. Just like in 1985. The pitching dominates and compensates for a wet noodle offense. Yes, it’s 1985 all over again. OMG, they’re in the playoffs! IT’S 1985 ALL OVER AGAIN!!!

The connections are so obvious, the drought so long, it’s not surprising we see these “Party like it’s 1985″ shirts all over the place.

What this postseason has done for me is underscore how tired I am of 1985. Honestly, I never thought I’d write that. As a 14 year old when the Royals won the World Series, that team was integral to my baseball consciousness. But the Wild Card game and the ALDS has awakened something in me. I’ll never forget 1985. But we’re ready for new memories. We’re ready for new heroes.

The Royals have played four games this postseason. All four of those games have been incredibly memorable. It’s as if they’re making up for lost time, paying back our devotion with heart-stopping, improbable victories. Four games of magic:

Twice being three outs from elimination and both times getting up off the mat.

Sal Perez lining a pitch out of the strike zone just inside the third base bag for the winning Wild Card hit.

Eric Hosmer hitting home runs and landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Billy Butler stealing a base and paying tribute to Jarrod Dyson while standing on second.

Greg Holland rushing through the SoCal traffic to arrive at the stadium in time to close the door in Game One.

Yordano Ventura throwing 102 mph gas.

Alex Gordon clearing the bases with a double.

Mike Moustakas crushing a home run that landed one row in front of me in Game Three.

Amazing. So many signature moments. And just like that, the twentysomethings finally have their postseason memories. Never again will they have to hear about George Brett’s home run silencing Yankee Stadium in 1980 and wonder if they’ll ever experience something similar. We have Mike Moustakas going yard in Anaheim. This isn’t to say the heroes of 2014 are going to knock the 1985 team off the shelf or replace them in some way. They’re going to share the real estate. Finally. Finally we have a group of players that have accomplished something meaningful. It’s been so damn long. How great will it be 25 years from now when Darryl Motley and Eric Hosmer are back at The K for an Old Timers Day? They played in different eras, but they share a connection as Royals who won pivotal postseason games with one swing of the bat. And it’s about time we as a fan base have a shared experience like this. There’s no more divide between the old fans and the younger ones. That gap disappeared when Sal Perez smashed a ball down the right field line sending The K into raptures not seen for almost three decades.

The 2014 October Royals have made their mark. They have become America’s baseball team. Don’t believe me? According to USA Today, the Royals have sold the most merchandise of any team in baseball this month. The same report has Eric Hosmer as the third most popular player, behind Derek Jeter and some St. Louis Cardinal. Fine. Small sample size and all that, but this is an October when everything has been turned inside out and upside down. Expect the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed.

After 29 years we are finally moving on from 1985. That team will never leave our memory. But it’s about time they have some company.

All I write is 25 man roster stories anymore – or so it seems, anyway.  Here’s hoping that in a little over a week, I am going to write another one in preparation for the World Series.

Truthfully, there is little to analyze at this point:  both manager and general manager are – for maybe the first time in this duos’ combined tenure – actually comfortable with this unit.

Pitchers:

  • Shields, Ventura, Guthrie, Vargas, Duffy, Holland, Davis, Herrera, Finnegan, Frasor, Collins

Position Players:

  • Perez, Hosmer, Infante, Escobar, Moustakas, Gordon, Cain, Aoki, Butler, Dyson, Kratz, Colon, Gore, Willingham

Tim Collins’ is in italics as he is likely the only one that might not make the transition from ALDS roster to ALCS roster.  He was a surprise addition before the Angels’ series and surprised us further by appearing in a high leverage situation and, surprisingly, performing well in said situation.  I think he probably comes back again, but a move to a different lefty (Francisely Bueno or Scott Downs) is always a possibility.

A dark horse to the mix might be Liam Hendriks.  With rain sprinkled (get it?) throughout the forecast for this series, the scenario of playing a couple of innings, sitting for two hours and then resuming looms as a real possibility.  Your starter is burned and even if piece together the rest of the game using the bullpen, you might well have a game the next day. At some point, the Royals may opt for innings.   Plus, even in the playoffs, junk innings sometimes come up.  Up or down by eight runs in the seventh, do you really want Ned Yost sending out Finnegan or Herrera?

Now, the Royals like to think too much sometimes, and could bounce off enough walls to think they need TWELVE pitchers.  I doubt they will go there as that means dropping Terrance Gore, your pinch running weapon of choice, or Josh Willingham, the only guy you actually would use to pinch hit for anyone.

They could also consider going with just ten pitchers, given that one of the starters (likely Duffy) will be in the bullpen full-time, and take another bat into the ALCS.  That means, Raul Ibanez or Jayson Nix:  handy to have around if the game goes 13 innings, but only in the sense that someone has to stand in each of the nine positions on the diamond. That scenario also assumes that the Royals are 100% confident that both Duffy and Herrera are completely healthy.

In the end, I believe we will find ourselves with the 25 men listed above and, at this point, that seems just about right.  Yost is comfortable with that group and is almost on autopilot in how to use them – which is not a bad thing.

We know the nine starters and that Gore will pinch-run when the Royals trail or are tied late.  We know Dyson will come on at some point in the last three innings in place of Aoki and that Willingham might pinch hit against a left-handed reliever (or if Gore’s turn comes up in the order).

We know that Herrera might pitch in the sixth if needed and certainly the seventh if the Royals are ahead.  We know that Finnegan will pitch as often as the HDH combo – another good thing.  You can bet on Danny Duffy in extra innings.

Sure, Ned could surprise us and I almost never like Ned surprises, but you can likely guess 95% of every pitching and position player change that is going to be made and, at this point, with this roster, it is going to be hard to argue with very many of them.  It took a long time to get here, but this is a comfortable group being used in mostly logical fashion.

Feels like a real life baseball organization, doesn’t it?

 

Everything is new. We’re approaching the second week of October and instead of wondering what rash move Dayton Moore will make minutes after the final out of the World Series, the Royals and Ned Yost are setting their pitching rotation for the American League Championship Series.

The American League Championship Series!

We know James Shields is throwing in the first game. That makes sense. Shields is the Royals de facto “ace.” He was the best starter on a strong staff this season. He threw in the Wild Card and in the clincher over the Angels in the ALDS. Yost thought about this for half a second before writing his name down with a Sharpie.

How about the rest of the rotation?

Here’s how I’d like it to look:

Game Two – Yordano Ventura

The Orioles are going to bring right-handed thunder in this series. They led the majors in home runs this summer and the heart of their order will consist of Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce followed by JJ Hardy. Jonathan Schoop hits at the bottom of the order, but he hit 16 home runs this season. Baltimore’s top left-handed power bat, Chris Davis, won’t make the roster as he serves out the rest of his 50-game suspension.

Oriole Park plays neutral to the home run this year. Which seems strange to me, because when I think about Baltimore, I think of the park as a little bandbox. Either way, I’m leery of the long ball and want to do everything I can to steal a game (or two) in Baltimore and Ventura gives the Royals the best chance. His 47.6 percent ground ball rate was the best of the Royals rotation and his 31.1 percent fly ball rate was the lowest. Game One starter Shields has the second-best ground ball rate at 45.2 percent and second-lowest fly ball rate at 34.1 percent. Throwing those two guys at the start of the series gives the Royals a great shot out of the gate.

Game Three – Jeremy Guthrie

We haven’t seen Guthrie this postseason, but it’s time to give him the ball in Game Three. Guthrie is certainly home run prone, but the hope here is a cool fall night at the K and a stellar defense neutralizes any advantage the Orioles may have in facing a fly ball, back of the rotation starter. Guthrie faced the Orioles twice in the regular season, throwing a total of 15 innings, allowing 14 hits, two walks and a home run. I’m not looking at a small sample size and giving him the ball based on that. It’s just info you’ll hear. The O’s will get base runners against Guthrie, but the hope is, he can minimize the damage as he did in his best starts of the season.

The added benefit of throwing Guthrie in Game Three is the bullpen will have a day of rest, so all the arms should be fresh, should they be pressed into service early. Also, I throw Guthrie in Game Three because I like him in a do or die Game Seven should the series go the distance. Mind you, I’m not advocating Guthrie as the ideal Game Seven starter. I’m saying with Shields and Ventura unavailable, he would be the best option in Baltimore.

Game Four – Jason Vargas

As much as I enjoyed the renaissance of Danny Duffy this year, I’m just not comfortable giving him the ball in a starting role against the Orioles. Duffy is an extreme fly ball pitcher (46 percent) and those right-handed bats… No. Also, I’m not sold he’s at a point where he can go deep into a start. He’s made just three appearances since the end of August – not counting his one-pitch start in New York – and has thrown a total of nine innings. Instead, I’ll turn to Vargas who bounced back from a rough September to deliver a shut-down performance against the Angels. Sure, he gave up a couple of bombs, but fortunately they came with the bases empty.

Game Five – Shields

Game Six – Ventura

Game Seven – All Hands On Deck

With a potential Game Seven in Baltimore, there’s no way I’m throwing a left-handed fly ball pitcher. So I’ll start with Guthrie, knowing that this is the game where everyone is available. Duffy and Vargas are options, but if they’re coming in the game, the Royals are already bleeding out and it’s probably too late.

This isn’t gospel. I would listen to arguments for anyone beyond Shields and Ventura in the first two games. I’m simply laying out my reasoning for what I think is the best rotation for the Royals in this series. With Brandon Finnegan, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland in the back of the bullpen, it’s possible the Royals will need only five innings from a Guthrie or Vargas. The Royals have a solid rotation, but it looks a helluva lot better with a lockdown bullpen behind them.

This rotation gets four starts from the Royals top two starters as soon as possible. I’m not about holding a starter for a Game Seven that may never happen. Get the best on the mound early and see how things roll.

click make big

When did I know? When did I know when the Royals were going to Sweep The Leg and sweep the Angels back to Anaheim?

Was it in the first inning when Alex Gordon hit a bases-clearing triple?

Was it when the Royals knocked Angels starter CJ Wilson out of the game after that triple?

Was it when Eric Hosmer clubbed his home run to push the Royals lead to 5-1?

No. None of the above.

The pivotal, soul crushing moment came right after Hosmer’s home run. When Billy Butler walked and stole second base.

Yep, that was the exact moment when you knew it was over. If I hadn’t been cheering wildly at that point, I would have looked at the clock to call an official time of death of the Angels 2014 season.

The Royals only needed nine innings for this one.

I remember Alex Gordon’s first at bat as a Royal, back in 2007. Facing Curt Schilling and the Red Sox, Gordon strolled to bat with the bases loaded in the first inning, an early signature moment in a nascent career. Gordon struck out.

Jump ahead to Sunday night. First inning again. Bases loaded again. Gordon this time lashed at a slider on the outer half and took it the opposite way. Into the gap for a bases clearing double. The journey took some unexpected twists and turns. But the destination couldn’t have been more perfect. That double knocked Wilson out of the game and set the Royals on their way.

Wilson wasn’t right. I don’t watch enough Angels games to know, but his pitch selection felt odd and he was definitely having difficulty locating. After his final regular season start where he was cuffed around, this was the Wilson I was hoping (as a fan) to see at The K. He got Hosmer on a called third strike after giving up back to back singles to Nori Aoki and Lorenzo Cain, but walked Butler on four pitches before the Gordon double. Facing elimination, Angels manager Mike Scioscia had the quick hook. It didn’t make a bit of difference.

With the game still relatively close in the early innings, Scioscia was burning through his bullpen. I guess the reasoning is you throw everyone in the elimination game in the hopes everyone can come back the next day and be available once again. I mean, I suppose that’s a strategy. But as a believer in what I call Bullpen Roulette – where any one reliever can come in and be horrible, derailing your plans – it doesn’t seem like a sound strategy.

The Angels were on their third pitcher of the night when Hosmer strode to the plate in the bottom of the third with Aoki at first. Hosmer, as you may have heard, has been on quite a roll of late. After a stellar effort in the Wild Card game where he reached base five times and scored the winning run in the 12th, he had reached base an additional five times in nine plate appearances against the Angels, including the go-ahead home run on Friday.

You want to see a guy locked-in? Look no further than Hosmer. A 2-0 fastball on the outer half of the plate and he didn’t miss.

Hosmer HR
Earlier in the season – hell, probably a couple of weeks ago – Hosmer hacks at that pitch and rolls it over to second base for an inning-ending double play. But October Hosmer laughs at such folly. He smoked that pitch to left-center for his second home run of the postseason.

I know in an earlier post, I dismissed the idea of comparing the games of the current postseason with the games from 1985. Having said that, Hosmer’s home run gave this game a very Game Seven of 1985 feel. With the way James Shields has pitched down the stretch and with the lockdown bullpen, a four run lead felt insurmountable. At least I hoped it would be insurmountable. It was still early at that point so perhaps some wishful thinking on my part. But I liked – no, loved – our chances.

With the 5-1 lead, Butler follows Hosmer’s home run with a walk. Then, the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a season full of the improbable, Butler suddenly takes off for second. A steal. And the dude was absolutely motoring. Angels catcher, Chris Iannetta, perhaps taking a mental break from what had to have been an exhausting series for him behind the plate, threw a one-hopper to second that Aybar couldn’t handle.

Stolen base, Billy Butler.

Pandemonium.

Maybe he was encouraged by the fact he motored around the bases on the Gordon double and executed a perfect slide at home in the bottom of the first. Maybe he’s just been hanging with Mr. Zoombya. Whatever, the reason, it was an astounding play. Stunning. Not exactly beautiful. But damn, it was pretty great.

An inning later, it was Mike Moustakas doing the damage with a home run that landed one row in front of me in right field. My brother sent along this image.

IMG_0481

I’m in the middle back with the blue Royals hat. The ball is embedding itself into the guy in the blue top in the front row, just above his hand. Shortly after the home run, my friend asked me, “If I had told you in June that the Royals would be in a playoff series and both Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer would hit a pair of home runs as the Royals swept the best team in the American League, what would you have said?”

I just stared blankly at him. I knew the answer. But I wasn’t going to say it.

With a 7-2 lead, you just are on your knees before the baseball gods, asking them to end the game as quickly as possible. Shields wobbled a bit in the fifth, allowing a single and walk with one out. Up came Albert Pujols, who hit a sinking line drive to the right of Lorenzo Cain. Caught. The next batter, Howie Kendrick hit a sinking liner in front of Cain. Caught. My words can’t do these catches justice. Just watch the video.


I’m watching these replays as I write this and I’m just laughing. This team… I don’t know. All I can say is when this is over my apology post will be pretty damn epic.

And there you go. You had timely hits from Gordon and Hosmer. You had speed on the bases from Butler. (?) And you had great defense in center from Cain. Follow that with the seventh from Kelvin Herrera, the eighth from The Wade Davis Experience and the ninth from Greg Holland and ballgame. A typical Royals win. Just like Ned Yost draws it up on the whiteboard before the games.

ALCS. Unreal.

Hosmermania anyone?

Eric Hosmer gets on base four times and blasts the go ahead run in the 11th so send us off to sweet dreams in the early Saturday morning hours.

Yordano Ventura threw high-octane gas all night. He hit 102 mph at one point.

Jarrod Dyson enters the game as a defensive replacement and guns down Collin Cowgill at third base in the eighth. Superb play by Mike Moustakas to get the tag down.

The home plate umpire’s strike zone was drawn like a five year old on amphetamines with a crayon.

The Royals became the first team to win three consecutive extra-inning postseason games. They lead the series against the Angels 2-0.

Coming home…

I want to play craps with Ned Yost.  Right now, before his luck changes.

Yost went with Vargas too long….and it worked.  He went to a 21 year old rookie as an injury replacement (I would have too, by the way) and it worked.  He has a rightfielder who, best I can tell, has never gotten from point A to point B without a detour to point C (and sometimes D, E and F) and said rightfielder made two run saving catches.  He pitched Tim Collins in the ninth inning of a tied playoff game and it worked!  Hell, in a 2-2 game, Yost used six relievers before handing the ball to his All-Star closer…and it worked.

Roll ‘em, Ned.  Let’s get rich.

Of course, not going to Holland until the Royals were in a save situation is not gambling to Ned.  It is by-the-book baseball 101. I don’t agree with it, because you run the risk of losing a game without using one of your best relievers.  Last night, the book served Yost well.  Damn if it wasn’t nice to have Holland go out and blow the Angels away for the save and a 1-0 series lead.

Even with the win, there is plenty to debate.  Would you have had Terrance Gore try to steal third?  I would have and would have been proved a genius if he had done so before Salvador Perez flied out to center.  Of course, I would have been a goat had Gore been thrown out at third.  I think the odds were in the Royals’ favor on that one, however, and Ned should have rolled the dice and given it a try.  I mean, why not?

Last night, the Royals went 16 straight hitters without getting a baserunner or, for that matter, even hitting a ball square.  They went six innings without a hit.  Their bullpen walked four batters, hit another and none of them scored. They did not bunt once (did they?) and won on a home run.

What the hell is going on here?  I don’t care, I love it.

Not all, of course, was sunshine and roses last night.

Kelvin Herrera left after facing one batter with forearm stiffness. It’s the Royals and we’re conditioned to think the worst and forearm stiffness is often the first indication of UCL issues.  How long can you wait before replacing the designated seventh inning guy on the roster?  Keeping in mind, of course, that if the Royals replace Herrera for this series, he is NOT eligible for the following series.

Does the Herrera injury make Danny Duffy a full-time reliever for this series and hence Jeremy Guthrie the Game Four starter? That would seem the likely plan of action.  After all, even if the Royals decide to replace Herrera on the roster, the pitcher they would call up is not a guy you want anywhere near a pressure situation.  A lot depends on just how bad the Royals believe Herrera is hurting, but this is going to be a tough string of decisions.

Also, let’s think about tonight and Yordano Ventura, who has pitched Sunday and Tuesday and not been very good in either outing. Can you bring back Duffy and Finnegan without any rest? If you have to get Ventura early, is Guthrie the call and sort out Monday’s starter later?  (The answer is likely yes on that last one, by the way).

This is playoff baseball.  It is agony and euphoria and tension and happiness all in one big hairy ball of crazy. For reasons unknown, Yost has guided his team through a landmine of debatable tactics to two wins.

Roll the dice, Ned.

Another game ends around the midnight hour. Postseason baseball didn’t used to be this crazy?

Jason Vargas gives the Royals six solid innings.

Nori Aoki makes circus catches in right.

Terrance Gore steals a base.

The Royals went 2,000 innings between base hits.

Every decision Ned Yost makes works. Again. Somehow.

Greg Holland birthed a baby and saved a game.

AND MIKE MOUSTAKAS HIT A HOME RUN.

Royals win, 3-2.

Analysis later. Maybe. I’m so damn tired.

%d bloggers like this: