The Royals are about to start up their most important series in a very long time.
The Royals (83-68) are set to welcome the Detroit Tigers (84-68) to town in the clubs’ final home series of the season. The team trails Detroit by a half game for the AL Central Division lead and currently holds the top wild card spot after the A’s 7-2 loss to the Rangers this afternoon. The series could very have have implications on who will end up division champions.
The Royals come into the series after winning two out of three from the White Sox, while the Tigers lost two out of three to the Twins. Both of the Royals wins in their series were thrilling. They gave perennial AL Cy Young candidate Chris Sale only his fourth loss of the season last night as he gave up a season high five runs. Lorenzo Cain had the big hit; a three-run home run in the third. It was the first time that Sale has ever given up a home run on an 0-2 count in his career. The Royals would hold on for the 6-2 win which undoubtedly gives the team confidence coming into the series after defeating a pitcher of Sale’s caliber.
But the real thriller came on Monday night when the White Sox scored three runs off of James Shields while the Royals could get nothing going off of John Danks through his six innings. But the Royals scratched out a run in the seventh and eighth, and entered the ninth down a run, 3-2. After an Omar Infante ground out, Mike Moustakas hit a double down the left field line and was pinch run for by Jarrod Dyson. Alcides Escobar grounded out, which brought up Nori Aoki. White Sox closer Jake Petricka spiked a ball in the dirt and it got passed Tyler Flowers. Dyson took off for third before the pitch and was able to come around to score the tying run all the way from second. Aoki than doubled and was pinch ran for by rookie Terrance Gore. On an 0-2 count, Gore took off for third and Cain hit a slow grounder to second. Alexi Ramirez attempted to cut the ball off with his momentum taking him toward first base, but was unable to field the ball. Cain was safe at first and Gore came across the plate with the winning run. The Royals displayed their “that’s what speed do” motto, quoted by Jarrod Dyson, by winning the game that saw the tying and winning runs score from second base on a passed ball and a grounder to second. Nori Aoki also made history in the series by going 11-13 as well as two walks in the series. His 11 hits are a Royals record for most hits in a three game series.
The Royals needed to win this series against the White Sox, and they did so in thrilling fashion. They now have momentum heading into this weekend against the Tigers. Kauffman Stadium should be going crazy for the first time since game seven of the 1985 World Series, and it will undoubtedly be a sight to see for any baseball fan. The matchups will be Justin Verlander vs. Jason Vargas on Friday, Max Scherzer vs. James Shields on Saturday and Rick Porcello vs. Jeremy Guthrie on Sunday.