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ALCS Game 4 Game Thread - Baltimore Orioles vs. Kansas City Royals

I hear the swishing of brooms. Might it be sweep time?

Gordon's certainly waited long enough
Gordon's certainly waited long enough
Ed Zurga

One win. That's all it takes. One win.

In this matinee showdown at the K, the Orioles and Royals face each other for the fourth time in the American League Championship Series, and the Royals have put up the W in the previous three games. The Royals also won the three games of the American League Division Series vs. the Anaheim/Los Angeles/California Angels. They also won the one-game Wild Card playoff vs. the Oakland Athletics. In another era, they closed out the 1985 World Series with three consecutive victories. Thus, the Royals have not lost a playoff game since October 23, 1985, creating a postseason win streak of 10 and counting.

Another fun fact about the Royals is that they have 7 postseason victories this year, while the Kansas City Chiefs have 8 playoff wins in their entire franchise history. Yes, the maximum playoff games in one year for the NFL is 4 while the MLB allows for a max of 19, but the Chiefs' first playoff win was in 1962 and the Royals haven't made the playoffs for 29 years. You have to wonder that, with a 2014 World Series appearance and possibly a win, attention shifts towards the Chiefs to deliver a compelling product, basically giving the Royals a free pass for a while.

HOWEVER. They are not to the promised land yet. To the mound for Kansas City today goes Jason Vargas, the guy in the offseason that everybody thought General Manager Dayton Moore overpaid for. He is arguably in the midst of the best season of his career, sporting above average ERA and FIP numbers that have finally stabilized in the 3.7-3.8 range. He made one start in the postseason, giving up a pair of runs but going six (albeit shaky) innings against the Angels.

Remember how stressful the Royals' Wild Card game was? The Orioles essentially have four of those in a row if they wish to advance. They must outplay the Royals for four straight games, two of which remain at Kauffman Stadium. They send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound, a late-blooming righthander with an excellent ERA (3.23) but a poor FIP (4.89). He throws five pitches, per Pitch f/x: fastball, two-seamer, slider, changeup, and curveball. His average fastball velocity this year was 90.9, so he won't blow batters away. His best pitch is his slider, which is well above average, but his other pitches are perfectly hittable.

Maybe if the Royals make the World Series this postseason run will feel real, or maybe it won't. Who knows. What we do know is that the Royals can make the 2014 World Series with a win this afternoon. Be Royal.