KANSAS CITY - So the 2014 Orioles season may have just one day to go. I don’t think anyone could have predicted a four-game sweep of the 96-win Orioles coming off their three-game sweep of Detroit.
But that is where this series is with the Orioles needing a miracle to pull out the American League Championship Series now.
It seems the Royals are always one step ahead of the Orioles no matter what they do. Score six runs in Game 1 and give up eight. Hold the Royals to just two runs in Game 3, but score only one.
Hit a hot smash to third and watch Mike Moustakas play like Brooks Robinson. See two flares fall in for hits in the fourth last night and watch K.C. tie the game at 1-1.
Over 162 games in the regular season, the Royals were not the better team. But they have been in this series. It’s almost like the games have been close, but the series overall now is not. The Royals are on the brink of a sweep.
It is almost an impossible situation for the Orioles.
“We’re not looking at it like that, I can assure you of that,” shortstop J.J. Hardy said. “We have to come out tomorrow and win and take it one day at a time. Right now, they are doing everything right. Their pitching is tough, that’s no secret. That bullpen is as good as it gets.”
Adam Jones also addressed the Orioles’ dire situation.
“We just have to win. We’re down 3-0. It’s no ifs, ands or buts. It’s do, at this point,” he said.
“We came and battled ourselves through spring training. And then yielded ourselves through the entire season, won our division and put ourselves in the best possible situation to do something special for the city of Baltimore.
“Kansas City is doing the same thing for their city. They are grinding it out and you never know what can happen when you play with house money. Both franchises weren’t supposed to be here but we’re here and grinding it out.”
The Royals bullpen’s big three of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland have been unhittable at times. They have combined to pitch 11 innings allowing just one run in this series.
O’s batters are hitting a combined .077 (2-for-26) against Herrera and Davis. Throw in the O’s 3-for-12 against Holland and they are still batting just .132 against that big three.
Last night, the O’s took their first lead of the series on back-to-back doubles by Steve Pearce and Hardy in the second inning. Outside of those two hits, the Orioles went 1-for-28 in the game. Not nearly good enough.
Kansas City had no extra-base hits or even one single hit with a runner in scoring position last night. But these Royals won again and the Orioles’ season is close to over.
A few other ALCS notes:
* The Royals have won 10 straight postseason games dating to the 1985 World Series when they rallied from down 3-1 to win in seven games. That is tied for the third-longest streak in baseball history. The record is 12 postseason wins in a row, done twice by the Yankees.
* The Royals became the third team in history to win their first seven games of a postseason, joining the 1976 Reds and 2007 Rockies. No team has ever opened a postseason with more than seven wins in a row.
* Pearce was 0-for-9 in this series until his double in the second inning last night.
* Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain went 2-for-4 last night. He is 8-for-12 (.667) in this series and 12-for-31 (.387) in the playoffs.
* Wei-Yin Chen allowed just two runs last night, but Orioles starters have pitched to an ERA of 7.08 in this series and 5.59 with just one quality start in six postseason games against the Tigers and Royals.