Kansas City Royals Hold Off Blue Jays to Advance to World Series


In a wildly entertaining and dramatic game six, the Kansas City Royals held off a very game Toronto Blue Jays team to clinch their second consecutive American League pennant. The Royals will face off against the New York Mets in the World Series, trying to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy for the first time since 1985, the lone championship in franchise history.

Like it was in the New York Mets’ series, where they swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, the Royals’ superb pitching was able to subdue a very powerful Blue Jays’ lineup with their strong bullpen, and some sterling performances by their starting pitching. The same formula that got them within 90-feet of winning the championship last season has given them the same chance this year.

Game six of the ALCS was one of the more entertaining elimination games that baseball has provided us. The Royals struck early, getting out to an early lead, but the Blue Jays fought back to tie things up late in the game before the Royals cracked the board again in the eighth to score the winning run after a rain delay.

In the ninth inning, that’s when things got really crazy. Wade Davis, after sitting for more than an hour because of the rain delay and the bottom of the eighth inning, started the ninth inning after getting the final two outs in the eighth. He started a little shaky, as he allowed a leadoff single to Russell Martin. Pinch-runner Dalton Pompey took Martin’s place, and in a gutsy showing, he stole second base, and then third base to put the tying run 90 feet away from home with no one out in the inning.

Kevin Pillar would work a walk against Davis, but the Royals’ reliever would settle in rather quickly. Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro struck out as Pillar stole second base. With the tying run at third, and the go-ahead run at second, Ben Revere would also strike out, with a little controversy mixed in. On a 2-1 count, Davis threw a fastball that appeared to be well up and away, especially with the diminutive Revere at the plate. It was called a strike, so instead of Revere being in the driver’s seat with a 3-1 count, the count sat at 2-2. Davis struck Revere out with a great knuckle curveball on the next pitch.

The Jays’ last resort was Josh Donaldson, the likely AL MVP front-runner. He would ground out weakly to Royals’ third baseman Mike Moustakas to end the game, and the Blue Jays’ season.

Royals’ shortstop Alcides Escobar was named the ALCS MVP after having a tremendous series. In 23 at-bats, Escobar accumulated 11 hits, good for a .478 average. He hit two doubles and a triple, drove in five runs, and scored six times.

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While Escobar earned the MVP award, the Royals’ bullpen trio of Davis, Kelvin Herrera, and Luke Hochevar were just as important to the series win for Kansas City. The three combined to pitch 11.1 shutout innings, allowing eight baserunners and racking up 15 strikeouts. Even while missing their All-Star closer, Greg Holland, the Royals’ bullpen did more than enough to pick up his slack.

After a disappointing loss in the World Series in 2014, the Royals have a chance to redeem themselves and win their first championship in 30 years. The Mets have a great pitching staff as well, so the offenses will have to bring their best to determine the winners. Kansas City has shown they can light up a scoreboard, but will it be enough to crack the Mets’ code?

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