For the sixth consecutive post-season the Royals will be sitting at home, but some old friends will get some playoff thrills this fall.
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
This series is already over with Boston moving on and the four-game set didn’t have any former Royals on the active rosters. Brett Phillips had a nice season for the Rays with 13 home runs, a 101 OPS+ and 2.1 rWAR, but was curiously left off the post-season roster. But he was still there supporting his teammates.
rays newest coach brett phillips gives some insight into his strategy for game one pic.twitter.com/1iLB4uezIs— Cut4 (@Cut4) October 8, 2021
Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
The White Sox had a thin outfield this year due to injuries, and turned to some former Royals to step in - Brian Goodwin and Billy Hamilton. It is easy to forget that Liam Hendriks is a former Royal, but the 2021 saves leader pitched six games for Kansas City back in 2014.
The Astros feature 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, who is still looking to win his first ring. Martín Maldonado spent half a season filling in at catcher for the Royals when Salvador Pérez was out with an injury in 2019 before eventually returning back to Houston. Former Royals pitcher Jake Odorizzi started 23 games for Houston this year, but was left off the ALDS roster.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
The Giants and Dodgers don’t feature any former Royals, although lefties Danny Duffy and Scott Alexander are on the Injured List for the Dodgers. Duffy had a setback in mid-September and did not throw a single pitch for the Dodgers this season, but perhaps he can recover during the post-season.
Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers
The Braves have the two most different former Royals you can find with slugger Jorge Soler and speedster Terrance Gore. Soler hit .269/.358/.524 with 14 home runs in 55 games after the Braves acquired him in July. Gore appeared in his tenth career post-season game this week, seven more than Mike Trout. Lefty Will Smith began his MLB career with the Royals in 2012-13, but has become an elite reliever with the Braves. Jesse Chavez has pitched in 511 regular season games in 14 seasons but made his first career post-season appearance this week. The Braves also employ former Royals third baseman and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer on their coaching staff.
Lorenzo Cain is still on the Brewers, smiling and making amazing catches. The 2014 ALCS MVP bounced back to have a 2.2 WAR season in just 78 games with the Brew Crew. Most Royals fans probably don’t remember Manny Piña, but the backstop made his MLB debut with the Royals and spent five games with them before spending six years as the Brewers’ catcher. Can we count Jandel Gustave? The hard-throwing right-hander was briefly with the Royals in spring training as a Rule 5 pick before being returned to the Astros and has resurfaced in the Milwaukee bullpen. The Brewers also have Brad Boxberger in their bullpen, who has been a 1.6 WAR pitcher with a 3.27 ERA in 82 innings since leaving Kansas City.
Which old friend are you pulling for the most in the post-season?