Friday, February 5, 2016

Top Moments (#160 - #151) of the 2014-2015 Kansas City Royals.

Among this group of ten are some plays you undoubtedly remember. All of them are worthy of your memory.

Moment #: 160
Date: October 25, 2014
Game: 2014 World Series Game 4, @ San Francisco Giants
Score: Kansas City 4, San Francisco 3, Bottom of the 5th
Situation: One out, bases loaded
Count: 0-0
Matchup: Juan Perez vs. Danny Duffy
Result: Line out to center field, tying run scores
WPA: -1%

Summary: Jarrod Dyson makes a circus catch in center field with the bases loaded, but can’t prevent the tying run from scoring.

Link to video: Here.
The Giants had already begun their comeback in The Game That Got Away, having scored a run in the bottom of the 3rd to make it 4-2, and having chased Jason Vargas in the bottom of the 5th, had already scored one run and had the bases loaded with just one out. On the first pitch from Danny Duffy, the Royals’ third pitcher of the inning, Juan Perez hit a liner into shallow center field. Had there been two outs in the inning instead of one, or if the Royals had gone on to win the game, Jarrod Dyson’s diving catch would be remembered as one of the best defensive plays – maybe the best – of the last two years. His jump, his acceleration, his speed…look how shallow he is when he catches this ball. It’s an amazing catch. 

But, alas, it was a Pyrrhic one, as Hunter Pence tagged and easily scored the tying run after Dyson had to dive to make the play. Duffy would then strike out Brandon Crawford to end the inning, and Dyson would lead off the top of the 6th with a single. That would be the last time they were favored to win the game, however; Nori Aoki would ground into a double play, and the Giants would score three in the 6th and four in the 7th to put the game away.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Top Moments (#170 - #161) of the 2014-2015 Kansas City Royals.

We’re still in the realm of “Moments you may have forgotten about”, but we’re moving closer to the lands of “Moments you really should never forget”.

Moment #: 170
Date: October 27, 2015
Game: 2015 World Series Game 1, vs. New York Mets
Score: New York 4, Kansas City 4, Top of the 12th
Situation: No outs, bases empty
Count: 2-2 (+2 fouls)
Matchup: Daniel Murphy vs. Chris Young
Result: Strikeout, 2-3
WPA: 6%

Summary: A lucky bounce and a good play by Salvador Perez prevents a leadoff strikeout/wild pitch in extra innings in the World Series opener.

Link to video: Here.
It’s always better to be lucky than good. As Game 1 of the 2015 World Series went deeper and deeper into extra innings and the Royals were forced to turn to Chris Young in the 12th inning, he struck out the first batter he faced, Daniel Murphy – who had just become the first player in history to hit a home run in six consecutive playoff games – on a slider in the dirt, only the ball bounced through the legs of both Salvador Perez and the home-plate umpire. Fortunately, the ball hit the backstop on the hard green border – ensuring a solid, true bounce – just below the rotating sign, which instead presumably would have led to the ball dying with a thud near the backstop. Instead, Perez used his impossibly quick reflexes for a 6’4” catcher to corral the ball and throw behind the umpire to get Murphy at first base; the play wasn’t even that close. Young would go on to strike out the side and retire seven of the next eight batters, and then…