The Kansas City Royals entered the postseason as a Wild Card team, a team with pretty good pitching, not great hitting, and a propensity to bunt and steal bases much more than the average club.
Four games in, they have yet to taste defeat.
“It’s been incredible,” Royals first baseman Billy Butler said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “We’re just enjoying the ride. We knew we had the talent. But to have something like this go on, it’s like a dream. It’s getting better with each thing that happened.”
The Royals gave their playoff-starved fan base one of the best postseason games in recent memory last Tuesday, overcoming a four-run, eighth-inning deficit in the process. It wasn’t just that the Royals were down; it was that they were down four runs to Jon Lester.
No matter. The Royals tied the game 7-7 in the ninth and won it 9-8 in the 12th.
“I think every guy in there just kept battling,” Butler said. “Obviously when you’re down by that many runs, you know your chances aren’t very good. But we don’t give up. That’s what our team does. We just have too much heart on this team. We continue to fight until the last out, so we didn’t think we were out of it.”
The Royals’ reward for their magical night was an ALDS matchup against the best team in baseball. The Los Angeles Angels, however, became the first team in major league history to finish with the best record in baseball and then get swept in a division series. Kansas City won the first two games on the road – both in 11 innings – before winning Game 3 at home on Sunday, 8-3.
“I think we take each game like it’s a new season,” Butler said. “Obviously it does mean more whenever you sweep them. The emotions after the Wild Card game continued into the next series and we’re playing with so much confidence.”
The Royals play the Orioles in Game 1 of the ALCS in Baltimore on Friday at 8:07 ET. Expect a bevy of bunts from the boys from KC.
“I think the guys that are the bunters on the team spend a lot of time on it each day,” Butler said. “Every guy on our team is good at their craft and they continue to refine it each day. That’s just what we do. It’s the reason we’re where we’re at. Every guy on the team knowns their job and they know how to make themselves better each day.”
If the Royals beat the Orioles – and if the Cardinals beat the Giants in the NLCS – we could have a rematch of the 1985 World Series, when Kansas City beat St. Louis in a seven-game thriller.
“I know it’d be like deja vu,” Butler said. “I know it’d be extremely intense yet again. But I just think we’re focusing on Baltimore right now. We’ll watch that series too along the way. It would be fun to have an I-70 series, but we don’t need to get ahead of ourselves.”