Every time the 2014 Kansas City Royals have had their backs against the wall, they have always found a way to deliver in a big way. First they overcame a 48-50 record in late July and surged their way into the playoffs. Then in the Wild Card Game, they came back from a four run eighth deficit to stun the Oakland Athletics. Now facing a three games to two World Series deficit, the Royals will have to knock it out of the park one last time in order to bring the crown back to Kansas City.
The starting pitching matchup in game six looks to be favorable for the Royals. Kansas City sends flame-throwing rookie, Yordano Ventura to the mound to face the veteran, Jake Peavy.
Ventura has looked comfortable in his three postseason starts, including seven solid innings of one run ball against the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS. Peavy, on the other hand, has struggled in his postseason career. In 39 career playoff innings, Peavy sports a 1-4 record with a 7.05 ERA.
Peavy was hit hard by the Royals in game two, giving up four earned runs in five innings. A lack of control has also been a problem, as Peavy has walked eight batters over 14.2 innings this postseason.
Obviously the starting pitching and bullpen has carried the Royals team all season long. With that being said, the offense has played a pivotal role in Kansas City's postseason success.
Prior to the World Series, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas led the Royals offensive charge. During the eight game winning streak, Hosmer was hitting .448 with an OPS of 1.314 with two homeruns and 10 RBI. During that time Moustakas collected four homeruns, while Cain, the ALCS MVP, hit .353.
The World Series has proved to be a different story. A lack of offensive production by the players Kansas City relies on most has proved to be vital in their three losses. Hosmer and Cain have cooled off, both hitting .263 during this series. Moustakas hasn't been able to hit a ball into the outfield bleachers.
Alex Gordon, who is the player this franchise leans on the most, has had a dreadful World Series with only two hits in 20 at bats.
If there is any bright spot on offense as of late, it has been Salvador Perez. After an atrocious start to the postseason, Perez is hitting .352 with a homerun and four RBI in the Fall Classic.
The Royals magic number on offense seems to always be four. When Kansas City has scored four or more runs this season, they are 75-15, including a 6-1 record in the playoffs. There is plenty reason to believe the Royals can reach their magic number because they have averaged 4.83 runs per game at Kauffman Stadium this postseason.
Luckily, Kansas City will no longer have to worry about facing stud pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who has twice silenced the bats of the Royals.
If the Boys In Blue can force a game seven, you will most likely see Jeremy Guthrie get the ball with the crown on the line. Although Guthrie may have been Kansas City's weakest starting pitcher over the regular season, he has pitched like their ace in the postseason. He currently sports a 2.70 ERA over two postseason starts, including a game three win against the Giants.
If Ventura and Guthrie can both repeat their previous World Series starts, it is very likely that the Royals can turn it over to the Three-Headed Monster in the bullpen. Kelvin Herrerea, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland are at their best when protecting leads for the Royals.
A return to the running game must also be a consideration for the speedy Royals. They Royals relied on team speed on the base paths to make it this far in the postseason, but they haven’t shown the same courage against Giants catcher Buster Posey.
It will take than just execution to win these next two games. The Boys In Blue will Take the Crown if they play with the same heart and determination that got them this far.