I hope I’m not breaking any news here, but the Royals didn’t make the playoffs this season. That means all we can do is watch this year’s postseason and remember the great memories of the last two seasons. One thing that stands out to me is how well the Royals were able to minimize the impact of so many of the stars of the game. Guys who we’re used to seeing take over the spotlight just couldn’t do much of anything against the Royals, and that’s pretty fun.
Here are some of the highlights of them keeping the stars down.
2014 Wild Card – Jon Lester
This was the game where it became apparent Lester couldn’t throw to first and the Royals ran wild. When it was all said and done, Bob Melvin left him in a little too long and the Royals ended up with six runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings against him. You may have an idea of what happened after he exited the game.
2014 ALDS – Mike Trout
In three games, the best player in the game managed to accumulate just one hit. It was a homer, so he had a run and an RBI, but come on, that’s a pretty impressive feat to hold him to a 1 for 12 series. That’s how you get a sweep.
2014 ALCS – Zach Britton
He wasn’t the force he’s since become, but Britton posted a 1.65 ERA in 2014 and walked just 23 batters in 76.1 innings. In the ALCS, he gave up a run, which is noteworthy now and he also walked four in just 2.1 innings. Maybe that’s why Buck didn’t use him in that Wild Card game.
2014 ALCS – Nelson Cruz
Since the start of the 2014 season, Nelson Cruz has hit 127 home runs. Yes, he’s averaged more than 40 per year. And yet, in the ALCS two seasons ago, the Royals were able to hold him to just four hits and no home runs. He scored a run and drove in two, but his .313 SLG was a far cry from what we’ve seen from Cruz the last few seasons and really his whole career.
2014 ALCS – Darren O’Day
O’Day was one of the highest paid relievers on the market last offseason because he’s really good. He joined the Orioles in 2012 and from that point through the end of 2015, he posted a 1.95 ERA in 263 innings with 283 strikeouts and just 62 walks. The guy can pitch. He gave up three runs in just 1.2 innings over three games in the ALCS to post a gentleman’s 16.20 ERA.
2014 World Series – Buster Posey
In the World Series, Posey had just four hits in 26 at bats. All those hits were singles. He did score a run and drive in two, but it was fun to see them keep the heart of the Giants offense down. If only he had let a few of those pitches from a certain someone get by him, we’d be singing a truly different tune about the last two years.
2015 ALDS – Jose Altuve
Altuve has been a fantastic player for the Astros for a long time. He gets hits, he hits the ball far, he scores runs. He does it all. He went 3 for 22 in the ALDS, though with no extra base hits. The Royals figured out how to get him out when it mattered most. It’s just a shame they forgot once the 2016 season started. He hit .452/.485/.903 against the Royals this year in seven games.
2015 ALCS – Edwin Encarnacion
Encarnacion has long been one of the more underrated players in baseball. The postseason was supposed to be his coming out party where he could show the world what he was capable of doing. He hit .227/.292/.273 in the ALCS with just one extra base hit, a measly double. The Blue Jays did their share of hitting in the series, but Encarnacion was not in the middle of basically any of it as Royals pitchers did their job against him.
2015 ALCS – Roberto Osuna
Osuna has become one of the more exciting closers in baseball, but he struggled against the Royals in this series, taking one of the losses and giving up two runs on three hits with no strikeouts in three games.
2015 ALCS – David Price
Maybe this isn’t the right spot for this given Price’s postseason struggles, but the Royals eventually solved his riddle, even when it looked like it might be too late (it obviously wasn’t). He gave up eight runs on 11 hits in 13.1 innings in the series. He had his moments, striking out 16 and walking just one, but the Royals figured out his changeup and that let them mount that big rally in game two and start strong against him in game six.
2015 World Series – Yoenis Cespedes
The Mets star went just 3 for 20 in the series with no extra base hits and no walks. His sub-.300 OPS was the far cry from what we’ve seen from him throughout his career. Oh yeah, and don’t forget his defensive exploits in center field if you want to talk about some fun.
2015 World Series – Jacob deGrom
The Mets were counting on one of their aces to get them deep into games and keep the Royals off the scoreboard. He didn’t. He gave up four runs on six hits in five innings while walking more than he struck out in his one start on the big stage. That was fun.
2015 World Series – Jeurys Familia
He didn’t really pitch that poorly, but he did have three blown saves. I just wanted an excuse to mention them.
2015 World Series – Daniel Murphy
The 2015 playoffs were when Murphy turned himself into Babe Ruth. He continued that through a phenomenal 2016 season, but he took a brief hiatus from his hitting when the Royals squared off against him. Just like Cesepedes, he was 3 for 20 in the series with all singles. He did score a couple runs because he walked five times, but the Royals handled him with ease.