Oddities abound in Royals’ Game 1 victory

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The Orioles led the American League in homers this year with 211. The Royals finished last with 95.

The Royals led the American League in steals this year 153. The Orioles finished last 44.

On Friday, all roles were reversed. The Royals hit three homers. The Orioles hit one. Baltimore was 2-for-2 stealing bases. Kansas City was 0-for-1.

Let’s run down some of the madness from Kansas City’s 10-inning victory:

– Two innings after calling his shot*, Alcides Escobar hit Kansas City’s first homer. He had three in 598 at-bats combined between the regular and postseason before taking Chris Tillman deep.

– Tillman gave up five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. It was the first time he had allowed five runs since June 5.

– James Shields gave up four runs and 10 hits in five innings. He has a 5.63 ERA in three postseason starts, yet the Royals have won all of them anyway.

– The Orioles’ game-tying run in the sixth came on a 70-foot bloop/pop-up hybrid from Alejandro De Aza that dropped in the perfect spot behind the pitcher and in front of the middle infielders. Before that, the Royals’ big “blast” came was Alex Gordon’s broken-bat double dumped down the right-field line with the bases loaded in the third.

– The Royals, also dead last in the AL in walks this year, worked seven tonight. Three of those came in a row to start the top of the ninth, yet the Royals failed to score in the inning.

– Orioles closer Zach Britton issued all of three of the ninth-inning walks. He had never walked more than one batter in a 74 appearances this season. The three guys he walked were Alcides Escobar (23 BB in 620 PA), Jarrod Dyson (22 BB in 290 PA) and Lorenzo Cain (24 BB in 502 PA). Dyson and Cain both walked on four pitches while attempting to give themselves up by sac bunting.

– After those three walks and a total of 12 straight balls from Britton, Eric Hosmer took one of the worst swings in baseball history on a 1-0 count, hackng wildly at a slider a foot off the plate. He went on to hit a grounder on a full count that led to the go-ahead run being cut down at home. He also barely deigned to run the grounder out, which could have led to a double play had the Orioles handled it cleanly.

– The Royals hit two homers in the 10th inning, with Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas going deep. They hit one extra-inning homer in 162 games during the regular season. They have four now in the postseason.

– Even untouchable Royals closer Greg Holland made things interesting in the end. He had gone 12 straight innings without allowing a hit before giving up two tonight, and he surrendered his first earned run since Aug. 15 before closing out the 8-6 game.

*Escobar didn’t actually call his shot. He was pointing to an annoying stand of lights from TBS’s pregame set that he wanted shut off before leading off the game in the top of the first.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.