Without a doubt the most compelling storyline this postseason has been the utter dominance displayed by the Kansas City Royals. Currently up 2 games to none in the best of 7 American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City’s fortune this October has come from all facets of the game. While the Royals starters have posted an ERA north of 4.40 through 6 games, their bullpen has provided reliable support with a 2.30 ERA; the lowest among American League playoff participants. During the regular season, Kansas City was not known for their ability to hit the long ball, in fact their combined 95 total home runs during the summer ranked dead last in the entire MLB. However, this postseason the Royals have tapped into their muscle and have cranked a league leading 8 homers; 4 of which have come after the 7th inning. Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has been chiefly responsible for Kansas City’s power surge, as he has accounted for half of his teams home run total. Likewise, first baseman Eric Hosmer has made up a chunk of the Royals pop, blasting 2 home runs during the divisional series against the Angels. When Kansas City isn’t trotting around the bases this October, they’ve been springing around them. The Royals have currently amassed 13 total stolen bases, far and away the most among their postseason counterparts. Speedsters Terrance Gore and Alex Gordon each have 3 steals to their credit thus far, while Lorenzo Cain has accounted for 2 steals. After taking the first 2 games of the series in Baltimore, the Royals will return home to Kauffman Stadium, where they have yet to lose a game this fall.
- If you’re looking for the embodiment of the Kansas City Royals in one neat package, look no further than Lorenzo Cain. This season, the Royals have watched the 28 year old mature right before their eyes, and now he’s leading the team on their march to the World Series. Whether he’s making diving catches in the field or adding another multi-hit game to his playoff resume, Cain has been a difference maker this season for the Royals. (Lorenzo Cain embodies the never-quit spirit of the Kansas City Royals)
- It’s not every postseason that a team announces and extension for one of their players, but that’s just what the Orioles did with shortstop J.J. Hardy. Baltimore announced the 32-year old’s 3 year, $40M deal shortly before game one of the ALCS began. While Hardy’s deal doesn’t seem to mean anything to the Red Sox at its surface — other than the fact that Hardy will their chief competition for the next 3 seasons — it actually speaks to the value of Xander Bogaerts to Boston. Not only is the 22-year old cost effective, but he’s also full of major league potential, despite a tough rookie season. (For Red Sox, JJ Hardy contract serves as reminder of value of Xander Bogaerts)
- If there is one certainty this offseason, it’s that Dustin Pedroia will remain the Boston Red Sox’ second baseman. After enduring another injury plagued season, the 30-year old managed to finish the season with a mediocre .278 average and a .337 on-base percentage. While the second baseman’s power numbers continued on a downward spiral, the hope among the Red Sox is that his surgically repaired wrist will help him return to normalcy. (Red Sox offseason primer: Second base)
- Reunited with manager Bruce Bochy, former Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy energized the San Fransisco Giants rotation during the second half of the season, as well as the playoffs. The 33-year old was in the midst of a tough free agent season before Boston dealt the former Cy Young award winner to the Giants prior to the trade deadline. Now, surrounded by familiar faces, Peavy can claim some responsibility for the Giants post season run. (Ex-Red Sox Jake Peavy a different pitcher with Giants)
- The Red Sox sent 7 players to participate in the Arizona Fall League following the conclusion of the regular season. This week, the likes of Rusney Castillo and Deven Marrero joined the Surprise Saguaros, along with prospects from the Reds, Padres, Mariners, and Rangers organizations. (Arizona Fall League Red Sox update 10/7 – 10/11)
- Tweet of the weekend: Job security…
Randy Choate, reminding us that lefty reliever is the only job with more security than shit-stirring Boston sportswriter.
— Brendan O'Toole (@unexpectedbass) October 13, 2014