Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Moments (#70 - #61) of the 2014-2015 Kansas City Royals.

This set of ten Moments includes two key moments in a five-run inning against David Price, two enormous strikeouts with a pair of men on base, two huge plate appearances from the 8th inning of the Wild Card Game, the first three at-bats of the Miracle at Minute Maid, and concludes with what was then the biggest Royals moment in 29 years. And we still have 60 Moments to go.

Moment #: 70
Date: October 17, 2015
Game: 2015 ALCS Game 2, vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Score: Toronto 3, Kansas City 0, Bottom of the 7th
Situation: No outs, bases empty
Count: 0-0
Matchup: Ben Zobrist vs. David Price
Result: Single
WPA: 5%

Summary: Ben Zobrist lofts a pop-up that Ryan Goins and Jose Bautista allow to drop between them. But there was no one on base and the Blue Jays led 3-0 and David Price was on the mound, so what was the worst that could happen?

Link to video: Here.

There are a lot of Moments on this list, but this might be the only one that involves the Royals’ hitter throwing his bat down in disgust after putting the ball in play.

For a quarter century, it was the Royals that allowed routine pop-ups to turn into singles. For pretty much the entirety of the Allard Baird Era in Kansas City, I was terrified by every pop-up that was hit between the infield and the outfield – and with good reason. Do these names bring back any painful memories: Chip Ambres…Kerry Robinson…Terrence Long?

But just as the 2014-2015 Royals bulldozed through the postseason, they were turning the tables on the franchise’s own history. Now it was the other teams making silly mistakes, and it was the Royals who were taking advantage. Now it was the Royals who were hitting the pop-ups, and their opponents who were letting them drop for singles. On a Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, in Game 2 of the ALCS, Ben Zobrist led off the bottom of the 7th inning against David Price, who after allowing a single to lead off the game had retired 18 batters in a row. Zobrist skied the first pitch to right field and flung his bat to the ground.

Who says home field advantage doesn’t matter? If the Royals hadn’t retaken the league’s best record from the Blue Jays during the final weekend of the regular season, they wouldn’t have been at home for Game 6, when they got a pair of questionable ball-strike calls to go their way in the 9th inning. And they wouldn’t have been at home for Game 2, when a raucous home crowd made it difficult for second baseman Ryan Goins and right fielder Jose Bautista to hear each other, and then one of our own (I’m convinced this happened) called out “I GOT IT!” and confused Goins, who let the ball drop.

(Addendum: as astute reader Chris Esch reminded me, in the middle of the 7th inning, the Royals played their well-known clip of Royals fan Eric Stonestreet (along with co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson) - in character as the flamboyantly gay Cameron Tucker in Modern Family - rooting on the Royals and exhorting the fans to "Let's make some noy-oyse!" But then Crown Vision went live to Stonestreet, sitting in the stands and taking in the game that afternoon. That definitely added a buzz to the crowd, which hadn't worn off by the time Zobrist hit the first pitch, and the crowd noise was undeniably a crucial part of this play. So let's give an assist to Stonestreet. As a reward, he can pelt Jimmy Kimmel with a paintball gun.)

The Blue Jays had made a mistake, but it was still up to the Royals to make them pay. The Royals would make them pay. By the time the inning ended, they would lead, 5-3, making it the Royals’ most dramatic postseason comeback since…well, since Monday.

Moment #: 69
Date: October 17, 2015
Game: 2015 ALCS Game 2, vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Score: Toronto 3, Kansas City 0, Bottom of the 7th
Situation: No outs, men on first and second
Count: 1-1
Matchup: Eric Hosmer vs. David Price
Result: Single, one run scores
WPA: 18%

Summary: Eric Hosmer keeps the line moving in Game 2 of the 2015 ALCS with an opposite-field single to drive in the Royals’ first run of their five-run rally.

Link to video: Here.

After Ben Zobrist’s pop-up single, Lorenzo Cain followed with a single of his own to right field (Moment #137), which brought Eric Hosmer to the plate representing the tying run. Hosmer didn’t tie the game, but he performed an excellent piece of hitting, staying back on a changeup on the low and outside corner and golfing it to left-center field. It was the Royals’ third straight opposite-field hit, it drove in a run, and it put the tying run on first base. Once again, the line was moving. It wouldn’t stop until David Price was chased from the game and the Royals had the lead.

Moment #: 68
Date: October 16, 2015
Game: 2015 ALCS Game 1, vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Score: Toronto 0, Kansas City 3, Top of the 6th
Situation: Two outs, men on first and second
Count: 3-2 (+1 foul)
Matchup: Troy Tulowitzki vs. Edinson Volquez
Result: Strikeout looking
WPA: 4%

Summary: Edinson Volquez strikes out Troy Tulowitzki looking to get out of a jam on his 37th pitch of the inning and 110th – and final – pitch of the game.

Link to video: Here.

Thirty-seven pitches in one inning.

It is the nature of these Moments that Royals pitchers are vastly under-represented; the moments we remember are the ones in which something is happening, and pitching, after all, is about preventing something from happening. But even among that under-represented subset of players, Royals starting pitchers are almost completely missing from this list, at least if you count great defensive plays on the ledger of the player who made it. Partly that’s because dramatic moments usually occur late in games, when the starter is sitting in the dugout, but partly it’s because the Royals’ starters simply haven’t contributed a ton to their postseason success. James Shields, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, even Yordano Ventura have mostly been innings eaters in October, keeping the Royals in the game for the first six innings but letting their hitters and/or their relievers win it after that.

But Edinson Volquez has had his moments, and not simply because he’s pitched well. He made five starts for the Royals last October. In one, he had the misfortune to match up against Dallas Keuchel and lost; in another, he had a controversial 3-2 pitch called ball four in Toronto and also lost. But he started Game 1 of the World Series and pitched well enough – allowing three runs in six innings – in the shadow of a tragedy that he alone seemed unaware of, the death of his father earlier that day. He returned to the Royals in time to start Game 5 of the World Series, allowed a home run to the first batter he faced, and then – when he would have been completely excused for melting down entirely – went six innings and allowed just a single unearned run after that. The Royals won both games in extra innings; a lesser performance from their starting pitcher would have sunk them.

But he may have shown the most heart of all in the 6th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS, when Ned Yost – stop me if you’ve heard this before – left his starting pitcher in to pitch the 6th inning, facing the toughest heart of the order in baseball for the third time, and then stuck with Volquez even after he walked Josh Donaldson on nine pitches and Jose Bautista on nine pitches. A 3-0 lead suddenly seemed very much in jeopardy with the tying run at the plate, and let’s not forget that the following day, Yost left Yordano Ventura in to pitch through a jam in the 6th inning and Ventura wound up allowing two runs and leaving with the bases loaded and one out. I’m still convinced that sticking with Volquez here, with a bullpen that had thrown one inning total in the previous three days, was a mistake.

But Volquez worked through it. He came back to strike out Edwin Encarnacion on four pitches. He then got help from his defense when Alex Gordon snared Chris Colabello’s line drive to left-center field on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. And then, he fell behind Troy Tulowitzki 2-0 and 3-1 before getting a called strike, and then Tulowitzki fouled off a pitch, and then, on his 37th pitch of the inning, Edinson Volquez slipped a 95 mph fastball past Tulowitzki, who was clearly looking for something else. Volquez was done. But he had saved his best for last, and he left the game with a 3-0 lead. I have rarely, if ever, applauded a starting pitcher more as he walked off the mound.

Moment #: 67
Date: October 23, 2015
Game: 2015 ALCS Game 6, vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Score: Toronto 3, Kansas City 4, Top of the 9th
Situation: No outs, men on first and third
Count: 1-2
Matchup: Dioner Navarro vs. Wade Davis
Result: Strikeout swinging, stolen base
WPA: 10%

Summary: With the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 2015 ALCS, Wade Davis strikes out Dioner Navarro swinging for the first out.

Link to video: Here.

Before he could go after Ben Revere, before he could face off against Josh Donaldson with the AL pennant on the line, Wade Davis had to get past Dioner Navarro in one hell of a jam. The Royals had taken a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 8th inning when Lorenzo Cain scored from first base on Eric Hosmer’s single, but they missed an opportunity to put the game away after Kendrys Morales’ single gave the Royals men on first and second base with no outs. Mike Moustakas flied out, and Salvador Perez grounded into a double play.

Of course, at the time Perez’s double play looked like it had a silver lining: it ended the inning quickly so that Wade Davis’ arm wouldn’t have any more time to cool down. Davis had finished the top of the 8th, and then the rains came and forced a 45-minute delay in the middle of the inning. It had been almost exactly an hour between the time Davis left the mound in the 8th and the time he took the mound to start the 9th.

And then Russell Martin blooped his first pitch to right field for a single. Dalton Pompey – it turns out the Blue Jays had paid attention to the Royals’ liberal use of elite pinch-runners – came in and promptly stole second base on Davis’ first pitch to Kevin Pillar. On the 2-2 pitch, Pillar Pompey stole third base, and suddenly the Blue Jays had the tying run at third base with nobody out. And then Pillar walked on the pitch after that, and the Blue Jays had men on first and third with none out. Their win probability at that point was 55% – meaning the odds actually favored them to win the game at that point.

The odds don’t account for Davis, though. Navarro pinch-hit for Ryan Goins; while Navarro isn’t a great hitter for average (.255 lifetime), he is an excellent contact hitter (lifetime strikeout rate of 13.9%), and he had the platoon advantage. Davis’ 1-1 pitch (which is where I’ve set the video to start) was a little bit high and a little bit outside, but was called strike two. It was a bad call, but it wasn’t as bad as the 1-1 pitch to Revere, which was a little bit higher and a little bit more outside, as Davis took advantage of what he already knew was a generous strike zone in that location and expanded it another inch or two.

But first, Davis would go back to the same location on the 1-2 pitch to Navarro, knowing that Navarro would have no choice but to swing or risk strike three called. Navarro swung, and missed, and now the tying run was on third base with one out. But now the go-ahead run was on second base with one out, because on the pitch Pillar stole second base. Davis’ margin for error remained razor-thin. Revere came to bat with even more on the line. Which is why we won’t get back to this inning for a while.

Moment #: 66
Date: September 30, 2014
Game: 2014 Wild Card Game, vs. Oakland Athletics
Score: Oakland 7, Kansas City 4, Bottom of the 8th
Situation: One out, man on second
Count: 3-2 (+1 foul)
Matchup: Eric Hosmer vs. Jon Lester
Result: Walk
WPA: 4%

Summary: After nearly doubling earlier in the plate appearance, Eric Hosmer works a seven-pitch walk to chase Jon Lester and bring the tying run to the plate in the 8th inning of the Wild Card Game.

Link to video: Here.

Two of the first three hitters in the bottom of the 8th inning had singled against Jon Lester in the Wild Card Game, and the third batter had grounded out sharply. But Bob Melvin chose to stick with Lester for one more batter, trusting in the platoon advantage against the left-handed-hitting Eric Hosmer. It was a fateful decision. Hosmer nearly doubled down the line on the 1-1 pitch, but the first base umpire ruled that the ball was in foul territory when it glanced off Stephen Vogt’s glove on its way down the line. I politely disagreed at the time:

You make the call. The umpire was probably right, but we’ll never know, because the play isn’t reviewable, and because we never did get a good look from a camera down the line. This is the best picture I could capture:

Hosmer then took ball two, and then Lorenzo Cain took off on the 2-2 pitch, which Hosmer took low, and beat the throw by an uncomfortably small margin. Hosmer then fouled off the first 3-2 pitch, before taking the next pitch which was just an inch or two off the corner. Given what we know about the called strike zone as opposed to the true strike zone – that the de facto strike zone extends down and away for left-handed hitters – this pitch very easily could have been called strike three. Instead it was ball four, and the tying run was coming to the plate. It was a tremendous plate appearance that could have gone in a different direction three times – the fair/foul call, Cain being narrowly safe on his steal of second, and the umpire’s call on the 3-2 pitch. To me it was the most underrated plate appearance of the entire game. If the A’s retire even two of the first four batters in the bottom of the 8th, they’re sitting pretty. Instead they retired only one, and after entering the inning ahead by four runs, they now faced Billy Butler knowing that one swing of the bat could tie the game. Butler didn’t do that, but as you’ll see below, he did plenty good.

Moment #: 65
Date: October 12, 2015
Game: 2015 ALDS Game 4, @ Houston Astros
Score: Kansas City 2, Houston 6, Top of the 8th
Situation: No outs, bases empty
Count: 0-0
Matchup: Alex Rios vs. Will Harris
Result: Single
WPA: 2%

Summary: The Miracle at Minute Maid begins when Alex Rios hits a first-pitch single.

Link to video: Here.

For the last 35 seasons, the Royals have been the least patient team in the major leagues. It’s not close, and the trend shows no signs of abating. Even while winning two pennants and a world championship, they ranked last in the AL in walks in 2015, and were last in the majors in 2014. They swing at everything. They do not take walks. They do not care.

There are times when aggressiveness is a useful trait. Losing big late in a game, when your team needs baserunners more than it needs base hits, is not one of those times. For over a quarter century I have watched with unending frustration as the Royals’ opponents would patiently work a walk to ignite a late-game rally, and then when the Royals’ turn at-bat came, instead of patiently seeing pitches and trying to find a way to get on base by any means necessary, they would swing at the first pitch and make a quick out.

On October 12th, 2015, in Game 4 of the ALDS, the Houston Astros already had a 3-2 lead and were six outs away from ending the Royals season when they batted in the bottom of the 7th. Jose Altuve led off against Ryan Madson, worked a 2-2 count, fouled off four pitches, and then took ball three and ball four for a ten-pitch walk. After George Springer struck out, Carlos Correa hit Madson’s fifth pitch for a two-run homer. Colby Rasmus then hit Madson’s sixth pitch for a home run. Four batters, 25 pitches, three runs scored. Houston led 6-2. The Royals had six outs left in their season. They needed to find a way to make those outs last as long as possible. They needed to work counts, foul off pitches, and either force the Astros to throw strikes or take four balls. They needed to rage against the dying of the light.

Instead, having just watched the Astros’ patient approach break the game open, Alex Rios came to the plate leading off the top of the 8th inning, with the Royals needing three baserunners just to bring the tying run to the plate, and swung at Will Harris’ first pitch.

He lined it to left field for a single.

I have said on more than one occasion that watching the Royals’ postseason play out these last two years has been like watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie – a good M. Night Shyamalan movie, back when he made those  that you get to the end and the long, tedious, bewildering events that came before suddenly make sense. Like Sixth Sense or Signs, you realize that all those seemingly pointless plot details existed only to serve this one purpose. All that was missing from this at-bat was Mel Gibson’s dying wife saying, “Tell Alex to swing away.”

It turns out the Royals were playing a long con. Thirty-five years long, to be precise. And it turns out I know nothing about baseball.

Moment #: 64
Date: October 12, 2015
Game: 2015 ALDS Game 4, @ Houston Astros
Score: Kansas City 2, Houston 6, Top of the 8th
Situation: No outs, man on first
Count: 2-2
Matchup: Alcides Escobar vs. Will Harris
Result: Single
WPA: 4%

Summary: The Miracle at Minute Maid continues when Alcides Escobar reaches out for a 2-2 curveball and punches it up the middle.

Link to video: Here.

Will Harris had a .194 BABIP during the season, which is how he allowed only 42 hits in 71 innings despite giving up eight homers and striking out a modest 68 batters. Regression is a bitch.

Of the Royals’ five singles to start the top of the 8th inning that afternoon, four of them were line drives; there wasn’t a tremendous amount of luck involved with the placement of any of them. But Escobar’s hit was a bit of BABIP magic. Harris tried to finish Escobar off with a 2-2 curveball, and Esky managed a nifty piece of hitting to put the ball in play at all. He managed to poke the ball straight up the middle, inches off the ground until it made solid contact with the lip of the pitcher’s mound, getting a true bounce that took the ball straight up the middle and past the infield. If the ball hit the mound an inch to the left or right, it might have bounced right toward the shortstop or second baseman. On such small margins are rallies made, games won, and crowns taken.

(A side note: how delicious is it that, during the greatest rally in Royals history, A.J. Pierzynski was in the broadcast booth?)

Moment #: 63
Date: October 12, 2015
Game: 2015 ALDS Game 4, @ Houston Astros
Score: Kansas City 2, Houston 6, Top of the 8th
Situation: No outs, men on first and second
Count: 1-1
Matchup: Ben Zobrist vs. Will Harris
Result: Single
WPA: 8%

Summary: The Miracle at Minute Maid gets a boost when Carlos Gomez doesn’t lay out for Ben Zobrist’s single, loading the bases.

Link to video: Here.

We really need An Oral History of the Eighth Inning. (Are you listening, Rustin Dodd?) Here’s a question I want to see answered: why didn’t Carlos Gomez dive?

I said that luck didn’t have anything to do with the Royals’ four line drives in the inning, but I didn’t say anything about defense. Ben Zobrist hit Will Harris’ 1-1 curveball hard to centerfield, but with a little air under it, and on a vector straight to the centerfielder. All Carlos Gomez had to do was run straight in, and he almost certainly had time to catch the ball. I can say that with almost certainty because Gomez pulled up to play the ball on a bounce, and the ball hit the ground about three feet in front of him. Seriously – watch the video over and over again. If Gomez had run at full speed, I’m not even convinced that he had to dive at all – he might have been able to catch the ball at a full sprint. But if he had simply laid out his body, this would have a fairly routine, if telegenic, diving catch.

So why didn’t he dive? It’s possible that, mentally, he was in “no-doubles” mode, willing to give up the single in front of him to prevent a ball from getting past him into the gap. Teams will play no-doubles with a lead late in the game, but it’s typically when the batter represents the tying run – and the tying run was still on deck. More likely, then, is that Gomez was playing hurt, and was trying to avoid the pain that would have come with laying out for the catch. Gomez had strained an intercostal rib muscle in mid-September, and had been held out of the final series of the regular season. He started the Wild Card game against the Yankees, but was out of the lineup for Game 1 of the ALDS before starting the next three games. I think this is the most likely explanation: that in the split-second he had to decide, Gomez was afraid of re-injuring himself and decided to play it safe.

Which – if true – only raises another question: why was Carlos Gomez still playing center field? The Astros had Jake Marisnick, an excellent defensive centerfielder by reputation, on the roster. Marisnick had started Game 1 of the ALDS. They had a four-run lead with six outs to go, a situation which calls for your best defense. So why wouldn’t A.J. Hinch have put Marisnick in?

The direct answer is because he had already used Marisnick to pinch-run for Evan Gattis, his DH, after Gattis had singled in the bottom of the 7th. (Hinch could have then moved Marisnick to center field, but that would have necessitated giving up the DH for the rest of the game.) The indirect answer is that Hinch must not have had any concerns about Gomez’s health or defense, or – with the Astros already leading by four runs – he wouldn’t have used Marisnick as a pinch-runner in the first place.

Like I said, we need an oral history. I have questions. I want answers. But I guess that on some level it’s academic. Carlos Gomez didn’t dive. Ben Zobrist singled. The Miracle at Minute Maid happened. The why is fascinating. But the what is really all that matters.

Moment #: 62
Date: September 30, 2014
Game: 2014 Wild Card Game, vs. Oakland Athletics
Score: Oakland 7, Kansas City 4, Bottom of the 8th
Situation: One out, men on first and second
Count: 0-1
Matchup: Billy Butler vs. Luke Gregerson
Result: Single, one run scores
WPA: 14%

Summary: Billy Butler greets Luke Gregerson in the Wild Card Game by taking a low slider to the opposite field for a single, driving in a run and putting the tying run on base.

Link to video: Here.

Speaking of singles in the midst of 8th-inning rallies…this was vintage Billy Butler when the Royals needed him most. After Hosmer’s walk in Moment #66 above, Billy Butler batted with a chance to tie the game with a home run – or end the inning and the rally with a double play. Against Luke Gregerson’s nuclear slider, the latter looked a lot more likely than the former.
Butler got the slider on an 0-1 pitch, but he did what – at his peak – he did as well as anyone: he stayed inside the pitch and took it the other way for an opposite field single. Lorenzo Cain scored, Eric Hosmer scrambled to third base, and the crowd…well, the crowd had never really been out of the game. Even down four runs with six outs to go, the stadium was still packed. But we hadn’t been particularly loud before the inning started. The volume started to build with the rally, and when Butler singled it hit a crescendo that was deafening. This was a ballgame again. This was definitely a ballgame. Even if we had no idea at that moment just how historic a ballgame it would be.

Moment #: 61
Date: September 26, 2014
Game: 2014 Regular Season Game 160, @ Chicago White Sox
Score: Kansas City 3, Chicago 1, Bottom of the 9th
Situation: Two outs, bases empty
Count: 0-0
Matchup: Michael Taylor vs. Greg Holland
Result: Popout to catcher
WPA: 1%

Summary: Michael Taylor pops up to Salvador Perez, and the Royals end the longest postseason drought in American professional sports.

Link to video: Here.

This is a tough moment to rank. On the one hand, the Royals were almost assured of a playoff spot before this game began; their Magic Number was 1 with three games still left to play, and this game didn’t have a ton of drama – the Royals took a 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st, which held until Wade Davis (!) gave up a run in the 8th, and then Greg Holland retired the White Sox in order in the 9th. On the other hand, this was the moment we had waited over a generation to witness. I wrote about that night when it happened, and it remains one of my most poignant memories of the last two years, perhaps because it happened here in Chicago and there were only a few hundred Royals fans there to witness it in person, perhaps because it was such an innocent time when something like clinching a spot in the Wild Card Game could mean so much to a fan base that had had so little reason to cheer for so long.

But I can’t rank it higher than this, because of course it was only the beginning. It could have very well been the end; if the Royals lose the Wild Card Game, this moment would rank #1 on any list of Top Royals Moments from 1986 to 2014 (admittedly, that would have been a much shorter list than this one). But winning a regular season game against a fourth-place team wasn’t supposed to be the end; it was the means to an end. It opened the door for the 60 Moments that are still to follow. But we shouldn’t forget that this was the Moment that made everything that came afterwards possible.

Memorable Broadcaster Quote: “What a team. What a season. What a relief.” – Ryan Lefebvre. 

A heartfelt, if possibly rehearsed, ode to the 2014 Royals. But of course Ryan had no idea just what a team it was, or just what a season it would be. None of us did.


Unknown said...

I was lucky enough to attend that Blue Jays game when Goins and Batista let Zobrist's little pop up fall in, and I want to add just a slight addendum to Moment #70. Right before Zobrist came to the plate, the jumbotron played a pre-taped clip of Eric Stonestreet encouraging the fans to cheer. The crowd responded moderately but then they actually showed Stonestreet waving from his luxury box. The crowd went bananas! I mean it got game-rallying-hit loud (okay, not quite, but it was loud). And I have felt since then that the little extra dose of energy from that moment helped create the gaff on the Jay's part. Just that little extra decibel of noise kind of like when Horton heard the Who.

Rany said...

Good point, Chris - I was there that day as well, and Crown Vision showing Stonestreet in the stands definitely added a buzz to the park. I'll add that in.

Kyle said...

Not to be nitpicky--because I have LOVED every second of this series-- but I think there's a typo in this sentence from moment 67:
"On the 2-2 pitch, Pillar stole third base, and suddenly the Blue Jays had the tying run at third base with nobody out." Pillar was batting and Pompey stole third. Too many "p" named players...

BMJ said...

Wow - thought for sure Royals clinching 2014 Playoff Berth would fittingly be placed at #29...

Tally so far:

By Category:
2014 Regular Season (9)
Wild Card Game (13)
ALDS Game 1 Angels (5)
ALDS Game 2 Angels (5)
ALDS Game 3 Angels (6)
ALCS Game 1 Orioles (5)
ALCS Game 2 Orioles (8)
ALCS Game 3 Orioles (2)
ALCS Game 4 Orioles (3)
World Series Game 1 Giants (0)
World Series Game 2 Giants (5)
World Series Game 3 Giants (6)
World Series Game 4 Giants (5)
World Series Game 5 Giants (1)
World Series Game 6 Giants (7)
World Series Game 7 Giants (2)
2014 Entries So Far (82)

2015 Regular Season (3)
ALDS Game 1 Astros (1)
ALDS Game 2 Astros (4)
ALDS Game 3 Astros (2)
ALDS Game 4 Astros (6)
ALDS Game 5 Astros (5)
ALCS Game 1 Blue Jays (6)
ALCS Game 2 Blue Jays (9)
ALCS Game 3 Blue Jays (2)
ALCS Game 4 Blue Jays (5)
ALCS Game 5 Blue Jays (1)
ALCS Game 6 Blue Jays (7)
World Series Game 1 Mets (7)
World Series Game 2 Mets (3)
World Series Game 3 Mets (5)
World Series Game 4 Mets (7)
World Series Game 5 Mets (4)
2015 Entries So Far (77)

By Player:
Hosmer (15)
Cain (20)
Gordon (12)
Perez (13)
Moustakas (10)
Escobar (17)
Dyson (4)
Zobrist (10)
Morales (3)
Butler (6)
Gore (2)
Colon (1)
Infante (6)
Rios (4)
Aoki (3)
Orlando (1)
Willingham (0)
Butera (1)

W. Davis (4)
Holland (7)
Herrera (2)
Ventura (4)
Young (1)
Cueto (2)
Finnegan (2)
Volquez (1)
Guthrie (0)
Shields (0)
Vargas (1)
Hochevar (2)
Madson (1)
Duffy (0)
Medlen (0)
Frasor (0)
Collins (0)
Morales (0)


Charles Winters said...

Moment 61. Ten minutes later when going through the totals Lefever ended with "Time of game, uhh, I don't know - 29 years." NIIICE.

Unknown said...

The movement on that pitch to Tulo is incredible.

Michael said...

Moment #68 also caps Volquez's amazing performance as the only starting pitcher to give up zero runs in a best-of-seven series game in the 2015 playoffs. I was annoyed after eight innings in Game 5 World Series for many reasons, but one of them was because I thought Harvey was about to join Volquez in that feat.

adoyleBU said...

Don't forget that a big reason there were only a couple hundred Royals fans in attendance for #61 is because that clown set fire to the air traffic control center in Aurora that morning. We had three tickets to the game that night - for me, my wife, and my dad who was supposed to fly in from KC around noon. Needless to say, he was at KCI when his flight got cancelled so I had to give his ticket away to a friend (don't worry - he's a season ticket holder and got to go to all of the playoff games the last two years, which should make up for missing this one). I was pretty upset about it at the time, but it was still awesome to be there in person to see this.

What was especially cool was sticking around for the Friday fireworks and then celebrating with all of the players that came back out to the field after, who were spraying champagne (I almost caught Nori's champagne soaked playoff hat), running the bases with their kids, high five-ing anyone who could get close enough. It was the first of many of those celebrations to come, and I'm damn glad I got to share it with a small group of Chicago-based Royals fans.

Oh, and my dad still (jokingly?) talks about suing that guy who set fire to the air traffic control center.