The task seems so simple.
All the Kansas City Royals have to do is win one game, one measly game, and they’re in the World Series for the second straight year.
They have three chances to get it done, two at home if they need it.
I’m sure the McPherson group known as the “Loyal Royals” already is making its plans to be in Kansas City for Game 1 of the World Series. This seems to be such a lock, a done deal, a slam dunk. It would be like me standing over an 18-inch putt to win the U.S. Open.
Wait, better scratch that last one. If you've seen me putt, you know why.
But I still remember 1985 when St. Louis was leading the Royals 3-1 in the World Series. Or Toronto leading the Royals 3-1 in the American League Championship Series that same year.
We know how those turned out.
But I can't imagine the Royals not getting this done. Look at their lineup, you’d think they’re playing whiffle ball. Alcides Escobar (.600), Ben Zobrist (.389), Lorenzo Cain (.357), Eric Hosmer (.313), Kendrys Morales (.333), Alex Gordon (.308) and Alex Rios (.308) are making the 1927 Yankees look like a collection Punch and Judy hitters. And Gordon and Rios are the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in the order. The only slackers are Mike Moustakas and Salvy Perez, neither of whom is hitting their weight, but contributing defensively.
Toronto's thunder has rumbled only once. The Jays unloaded for 11 runs in Game 3, but have managed just five in their three losses. Joey Bats has been Joey Splats. Josh Donaldson has been somewhat dangerous, but Edwin Encarnacion has almost disappeared. Ryan Goins has been Toronto's best player and he bats last in the order.
Their lack of pitching depth was exposed Tuesday and they had to burn up Mark Lowe, their setup man, which makes his availability for this afternoon in doubt. He might be good for a batter or two, but little more.
As odd as it sounds, though, the pressure is on the Royals. They are EXPECTED to win. Toronto knows its season should be over, but given the way it can get hot in a hurry, it will swing with nothing to lose. A key will be getting the game into the seventh inning with a lead because the Royals' bullpen has been solid. Wade Davis is well rested if he has to protect a one-run lead with a four- of five-out save. You can bet with an off day Thursday, Ned Yost is going to manage this game like a Game 7 and pull out all the stops.
If the Royals do finish this off, it appears they would play the New York Mets. I really thought Chicago would win that series, but the Mets' young guns are throwing BBs past the free-swinging Cubs, who are mostly stirring the breeze and little else. When Chicago didn't win either Game 1 or 2 with its best pitchers, I knew the series was more than likely toast.
A Kansas City-New York Mets World Series? How many people had that penciled in at the start of the year?