Casey’s Corner: Kansas City Royals Are Kings

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The 2015 Kansas City Royals are the Kings of Major League Baseball for 2015!

A World Championship 30 years in the making has unfolded right in front of our eyes.

The year of sweet redemption for the Kansas City Royals. A year removed from coming up one game short of winning the World Series, Kansas City has secured their second World Series title in 30 years.

The main core of the Royals returning from last year’s campaign set out to finish what they started in 2014. This Royals team has been the most resilient and exciting ballclub since their breakout season last year.

Game 1 saw Kansas City defeating the New York Mets by a score of 5-4.

The second longest game in World Series history, was one of the wildest finishes in the history of Baseball.

A game that lasted five hours and nine minutes, and a total of 14 innings almost ended in catastrophe for Kansas City.

A rare fielding error made by First Baseman Eric Hosmer allowed the Mets to take a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Just as the Royals had done all year, they found a way to tie the game, and send it into extra innings. Left Fielder Alex Gordon hit a leadoff home run off of Mets closer Jeurys Familia to tie the game.

As game one slowly progressed, the Royals won the game in the bottom of the 14th inning off of an Eric Hosmer sacrifice fly into right field to score Shortstop Alcides Escobar. Hosmer was able to redeem himself in extras after his costly fielding error during the Mets half of the eighth inning.

The Mets would fall once again in game 2 by a score of 7-1.

Mets ace Jacob Degrom had a perfect opportunity to even the series before the series shifted to New York. Little would the world know, Royals game 2 starter Johnny Cueto would have other plans.

Johnny Cueto had mightily struggled since coming over to Kansas City in a trade from Cincinnati especially as the season concluded.

Throughout October, Cueto had shown signs of inconsistency.

Cueto’s first start against the Houston Astros in the ALDS “American League Divisional Series” had ended with a victory. His statline wasn’t overly impressive.

Cueto went six innings while allowing four walks on seven hits while relinquishing three walks.

Cueto’s second start against the Astros in a winner-take-all game was phenomenal.

Cueto pitched the Royals to a 7-2 victory. Cueto gave up two runs through eight innings pitched.

Cueto was able to retire the final 19 batters he faced in game 5, the only other American League pitcher to retire 19 consecutive batters in a postseason game was Don Larsen.

Larsen had pitched a perfect game  in game 5 of the 1956 World Series. Cueto saw himself in incredible company after his victory in game 5.

In the American League Championship Series, (ALCS)  Cueto was abhorrent in game 3 against the powerful Toronto Blue Jays. Cueto went a mere 2 ⅓ innings pitched while allowing eight runs off eight hits. Chants of “We want Cueto” intensified his pure atrocity in game 3.

Game 2 of the World Series rectified Cueto’s underwhelming performances.

Cueto went the distance, as he allowed one run off two hits in a complete game victory for the Royals.

The last American League pitcher to pitch a complete game was Jack Morris in game 7 of the 1991 World Series when the Minnesota Twins defeated the Atlanta Braves in 10 innings 1-0.

The Mets would find success against the Royals in game 3 of the World Series as New York  appeared to get back on track. Noah Syndergaard outdueled the Royals young hurler Yordano Ventura with a 9-3 victory at Citi Field in New York.

Game 4 provided the perfect opportunity for the Mets to even the series up at two games each, Steven Matz of the New York Mets did not disappoint.

Matz pitched 5 innings while allowing 2 runs off seven hits. Matz tied the World Series record for fewest career starts by a left handed pitcher going into a World Series start.

Duster Mails of the 1920 Cleveland Indians was the only other pitcher to only have two regular season starts under his belt entering the World Series.

Mets rookie Left Fielder Michael Conforto also etched his name into the history books in game 4.

Along with Gary Carter, Conforto became the second Met to hit two home runs in one World Series game.

Conforto also became the third youngest player to hit two home runs in a World Series game, trailing only Tony Kubek  and Andruw Jones.

The Mets could not hold on to what could have been a series tying victory. The Royals emerged victorious with a 5-3 victory.

After Familia blew another save opportunity, he became the second closer on World Series history to blow two saves in one World Series.

The only pitcher to do so was Ryan Madson when he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 World Series.

The Royals now up 3-1 in the series saw themselves one game away from winning their first World Championship since 1985.

Kansas City sent Edinson Volquez to the mound to face Matt Harvey in what was a series clinching game for Kansas City.

Volquez, the Royals starting pitcher in game one, made his first start since his father’s passing during his start in game one.

Volquez went 6 innings while conceding two runs (one earned) off two hits.

The Royals were down by two runs entering the top of the ninth inning. Three more outs were needed to keep the Mets season alive, but as the Royals have done all year, they did what they do best, score runs in late innings.

The Royals led off the ninth inning with a Lorenzo Cain walk. Cain proceeded to steal second base with First Baseman Eric Hosmer at the plate.

Hosmer hit an RBI double to Left Field to score Cain from second base to cut the Royals deficit to one run.

After Third Baseman Mike Moustakas moved Hosmer to third base with a groundout to first,

Royals Catcher and World Series MVP Salvador Perez drove in Hosmer with an RBI groundout to tie the game.

Familia, who came in for relief of Harvey, became the first pitcher with three blown saves in a single World Series.

The Royals had blown it open in the top of the 12th inning.

Perez led off the inning with a single to Right Field. Jarrod Dyson came in to pinch run for Perez.

With Left Fielder Alex Gordon at the plate, Dyson stole second base. Gordon grounded out to First Baseman Lucas Duda to advance Dyson to third.

With the pitcher’s spot due up in the order, the Royals sent Christian Colon to pinch hit for Luke Hochevar.

Colon came up with the biggest hit in his life. Colon drove in Dyson from third to give the Royals a 3-2 lead in the top of the 12th.

Colon became the first player in World Series history to hit a series clinching RBI in his first plate appearance of the World Series, more so the entire Postseason!

The Royals scored four more runs before they took a 7-2 lead entering the bottom of the 12th inning.

Royals closer Wade Davis struck out Mets Shortstop Wilmer Flores looking to clinch the Royals first World Championship in 30 years.

Salvador Perez became the first Catcher to win the World Series MVP award since Pat Borders won the honor in 1992 when the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Atlanta Braves.

The Royals have epitomized the “perfect ballclub.”

The ability to score runs late in games, dominant bullpen pitching, productive starting pitching, and a solid batting lineup have carried the Royals to a World Series crown.

The Royals are very well be in the mix of things once again next season, as they now prepare for a title defense campaign  in 2016.