They swept the 98-win Angels and they swept the 96-win Orioles.
And fittingly the Royals’ only two runs in Game 4 came on a fielder’s choice/error combo with two runners in scoring position thanks to a bunt by their No. 3 hitter and aggressive baserunning. Ned Yost Baseball, which is now 8-0 in the playoffs and also undefeated in making critics shake their heads.
Kansas City is going to its first World Series since 1985, with not so much as a playoff appearance in between, and somehow the Royals have won six of their eight postseason games by just one or two runs while simultaneously seeming like an unbeatable bunting-and-running machine.
Jason Vargas, whose four-year, $32 million contract was viewed by many as an overpay this offseason, allowed just one run in 5.1 innings and Yost gave him a quick hook after being questioned for leaving starters in too long earlier this postseason. And as usual the Royals’ bullpen was fantastic, as Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland combined for 3.2 shutout innings.
Kansas City–which had a 48-50 record on July 21 and trailed Oakland by four runs with five outs to go in the Wild Card Game–now waits, with homefield advantage, for the San Francisco-St. Louis winner in the World Series. I’m not sure there’s any proper way to explain it and, really, why would you even want to? The Royals haven’t lost a playoff game since October 23, 1985.
A’s hitting coach Chili Davis will interview for the same job with the Yankees, according to Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com.
Last week New York fired hitting coach Kevin Long, who held the job from 2007 to 2014 and guided the team to the second-most runs in MLB during that time.
Davis, who spent the final two seasons of his playing career with the Yankees in 1998 and 1999, has been the A’s hitting coach since 2012. During that time Oakland ranked eighth, third, and third among AL teams in scoring.
Davis has also been linked other hitting coach openings, including the Red Sox and Cubs.
Here are the lineups for Game 4 of the Cardinals-Giants series in San Francisco:
3B Matt Carpenter
CF Jon Jay
LF Matt Holliday
1B Matt Adams
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Kolten Wong
C A.J. Pierzynski
RF Randal Grichuk
SP Shelby Miller
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is using the same eight hitters he used in Game 3, but he’s swapped A.J. Pierzynski and Kolten Wong in the batting order. Yadier Molina remains sidelined by a strained oblique muscle.
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
LF Travis Ishikawa
SS Brandon Crawford
SP Ryan Vogelsong
Giants manager Bruce Bochy sticks with the same lineup he used in Game 3, which includes Travis Ishikawa in left field (with Michael Morse on the bench) and shortstop Brandon Crawford batting eighth.
Last month when Chris Davis received a 25-game suspension from MLB for a positive Adderall test everyone did the quick math and realized he could be back for the World Series or possibly even a portion of the ALCS depending on how things went before then.
But now, because the Orioles swept the Tigers in the ALDS and are in danger of being swept by the Royals in the ALCS, it’s possible that Davis’ suspension could linger into next season. If the Orioles lose Game 4 and are swept Davis would have one game remaining on his 25-game suspension and would serve it on Opening Day next year.
Obviously missing one game next season is no big deal, but the difference between rejoining the team for the World Series and having to sit out Opening Day seems symbolically massive.