We finish our tour around the American League with our “friends” across the state. Kansas City shocked the world in 2014, but a deep run this year would be just fulfilling expectations, you’d have to think. It’s a strong team that wound up with the best record in baseball (non-NL Central division) and is an experienced and hungry team.
I don’t know if he’s hungry–hopefully he’s had lunch–but Luke from Royals Blue definitely has the experience. KC has a lot of great blogs, but you won’t go wrong bookmarking RB for the postseason run. Luke took a whack at the now-familiar questions to get us set up for tonight’s meeting with the Astros.
C70: If you had to sum up this season in a word or phrase, what would it be?
RB: Hmm….how about “validation”.
C70: What worries you the most about the Astros?
RB: The Astros sure look a lot like the 2014 Royals. Weren’t suppose to do much, young, quick and they have got some amazing pitching. Facing a pair of lefties is what I worry about the most considering the Royals struggles with left handed pitching.
C70: What has to happen for the Royals to have a deep October run?
RB: A few hitters must get hot and the starting rotation has to not implode. A big fear is that ANY of the Royals starters are perfectly capable of putting up a stinker at any time. Must not allow that to happen, and if they are in trouble, immediately get the ball to the bullpen.
C70: Is there a player that will be the key to the postseason?
RB: I don’t believe any single player is the key, but I think there will need to be SOMEONE who stands out, whether that be Moose, Gordon, Hosmer etc. I don’t think we need to tab a single person right now as the one who must step up, but of the group of All-Stars on this team, someone sure better. If forced to pick someone, I will say Lorenzo Cain. He can change the game with his defense, his stick, or his legs on the base paths. If he has all 3 tools working, it could be a game changer.
C70: How high is confidence running among the Kansas City faithful?
RB: Confidence is high, but seemingly the more a person understands about how the playoffs work, the more trepidation there is. The prize is getting to the post season and having home field advantage in the ALDS. The Royals did that. Now comes a whole new “season” of sorts where everything is thrown out of the window. The Royals are a good enough team to win, there is no doubt. The problem is that EVERY team is good enough to win. Kansas City has fewer flaws than the other AL clubs so that might give them the slight advantage they need. Who knows in the end though, sometimes a Wild Card team catches fire and sweeps their way to the World Series.
C70: What’s the minimum that counts as a successful postseason for the Royals?
RB: It’s really hard to answer that question for me. Ask a group of people and you will get all kinds of different answers. A successful SEASON would be winning the division. The Royals did that. A successful postseason, besides just being there, would probably have to be at least winning one series. If the Royals make it to a second consecutive ALCS, it would be hard for me and many to argue that that is pretty darn good. That being said, there are a number who feel they must make it to the World Series or even win the World Series for this season to be successful since that is the “bar” they seemingly set last season. That seems a tall order for any team given the format of the playoffs. It is unfair to judge a team on the outcome of 5 games more so than the 6 months and 162 that preceded it. This is all new to the Royals, we aren’t quite sure how to view playoff success just yet….give us a few years.