With the divisional series coming to an end in Major League Baseball, let’s take a look at how some former KC Royals performed in those playoff games.
Let’s start with the first series that ended and the only series that did not reach five games. The Texas Rangers knocked out the TB Rays in four games as the Rays again could not win a home playoff game. While the four former Royals for the Rangers (Matt Treanor, Andres Blanco, Esteban German, and Endy Chavez) did not get into a game, those who played for the Rays played prominent roles (good and bad).
DH Johnny Damon began the barrage against Rangers starter CJ Wilson as he hit a two-run homerun in the 2nd inning of their Game 1 win (and their only win). In Game 1, Damon went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. After that, Damon went just 2-for-12 with one run scored. The Rays bullpen was speckled with former Royals. Closer Kyle Farnsworth did not pitch in a game, though he was up a few times in the ‘pen. Setup man Joel Peralta got the most work. Though he struggled a bit in his final appearance in Game 4 (two walks but Wade Davis cleaned up the mess), Peralta did not give up a run. His postseason line: 2.1IP, 1H, OR, 2BB.
In the 6th inning of Game 2, Juan Cruz entered with the bases loaded. On the first pitch he threw, Ian Kinsler ripped a two-run double (Cruz recovered from there). In Game 3, he entered with two men on base but Rays catcher John Jaso threw Elvis Andrus out trying to steal home. Cruz then pitched a scoreless 8th inning. In that same game, lefty JP Howell entered the 7th inning (right before Cruz) with the bases loaded and two outs to face lefty Josh Hamilton. Hamilton ripped the second slider for a two-run single (that inning gave the Rangers the lead). That was the only batter Howell faced in the series.
Now onto the three LDS’ that went five games. First, the Detroit Tigers defeated the favored NY Yankees. Third baseman Wilson Betemit didn’t get the original start in Game 1, but pinch-hit when it restarted the next day. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Overall in the series, Betemit went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts. Makes me think Brandon Inge or Don Kelly will see alot of time at third base in the ALCS.
Next, the Milwaukee Brewers survived against the Arizona Diamondbacks as Nyjer Morgan delivered the walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 5. This was after Dbacks shortstop Willie Bloomquist tied the game in the top of the 9th inning against Brewers closer John Axford with a safety squeeze. In the series, Bloomquist went 7-for-22 with three runs scored.
On the Brewers side, Zack Greinke struggled with the long ball, as he allowed three homeruns in his Game 2 start. He allowed four runs on eight hits over just five innings while striking out seven. The Brewers came back to win though. Greinke will start Game 1 of the NLCS. Clinging to a 1-0 lead in the 6th inning of Game 1, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt tripled with two outs against Dbacks starter Ian Kennedy. Jonathan Lucroy followed with an RBI single to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish. Overall in the series, Betancourt went 5-for-17 with five runs scored.
Finally, the St. Louis Cardinals stunned the favorite Philadelphia Phillies, as the Cardinals pitching staff shut down the Phillies offense. One of the Cardinals key relievers was Octavio Dotel. He pitched in three games and earned the win in Game 2 (1.1IP, 0H, 0R, 2K). Overall, Dotel did not allow a hit in 2.2 innings while striking out four.
One of the Phillies to strike out against Dotel was left fielder Raul Ibanez. However Ibanez hit a big two-run homerun off Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse in the 6th inning of the Phillies Game 1 win. In four games, the free agent Ibanez went 3-for-15 with four RBIs and five strikeouts.
MLB is headed to the championship series, so which former Royals player will YOU be rooting for?
*Treanor and Blanco are not on the Rangers ALCS roster.