The Kansas City Royals are currently on one of the most memorable and incredible playoff runs in recent sports history. After missing the playoffs for nearly three consecutive decades, the teams finally broke through this season and has not looked back. Following a late-innings comeback win over the Oakland A’s in an instant classic, winner-take-all game, the Royals have been unstoppable en route to their first World Series berth since 1985.
Team of destiny? Maybe. But as they await their Series opponent, let’s take a look back at eight incredible facts about the Royals 8-0 start to the 2014 MLB Playoffs.
1. The Royals are the first team in MLB history to start a postseason 8-0.
Kansas City is not only headed to the World Series, they are doing so as the first team ever to enter with eight consecutive wins.
— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) October 16, 2014
Not bad for a team that hadn’t even sniffed the playoffs since before most of their roster was born.
2. Kansas City has the second-longest playoff winning streak of all-time.
Did you know that the last time the Royals were in the playoffs, they overcame a 3-1 deficit against the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 1985 World Series? And then for 29 years, nothing. Now that the Royals have won eight straight in this season’s playoffs, they are actually riding an 11-game playoff winning streak overall, trailing only a pair of Yankee teams for the all-time record.
Royals: won 11 straight postseason games, 3rd-longest streak all-time, 1 shy of MLB record shared by 1927-1932 Yankees & 1998-1999 Yankees
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 16, 2014
3. The Royals are the first team in playoff history to start with three consecutive extra-innings games.
After an incredible extra-innings win over the A’s in their Wild Card game, the Royals went into extras with the Los Angeles Angels in Games 1 & 2 of the ALDS, making them the first team in Major League history to start the postseason in such a fashion.
The 2014 #Royals are the first team in baseball history to win three consecutive postseason games in extra-innings.
— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) October 4, 2014
Even more incredible, the Royals became the first team to win three consecutive extra-innings playoff games, and also the first to homer in extra innings in consecutive playoff games.
4. The Royals trailed for a total of 2.5 innings in the ALDS and ALCS.
One of the most remarkable things about the Royals playoff run is that if they are down, it isn’t for very long. After trailing for most of their Wild Card game against the A’s, the Royals trailed for half of an inning against the Angels in the ALDS, and a total of two innings against the Orioles in the ALCS.
That means that the A’s led the Royals for more innings in one game than the Angels and Orioles did through two full series. Incredible.
5. The Cardiac Kings
I mentioned earlier that the Royals were the first team to have three consecutive extra-innings games, but that is only the beginning of their drama-filled playoff run. The team has had four of their eight wins come in extra-innings, including three won on home runs, the first team to do that.
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 11, 2014
In all, four of the Royals wins have come by one run and five of their games have had a go-ahead or winning run in the 9th inning or later.
6. The Royals Have Some World Series Experience
Well, sort of. Royals reliever Brandon Finnegan finds himself in an incredibly interesting (and unprecedented) situation heading into the World Series. Finnegan pitched for TCU in the College World Series earlier this year, and after a mid-season call-up by the Royals, has the opportunity to make some history.
Brandon Finnegan is the first player in baseball history to go from College World Series to MLB World Series in the same year. Useless Stats
— Matthew Holt (@MatthewHoltVP) October 15, 2014
People dream of pitching in the College World Series or the MLB World Series, and Finnegan may get to do both all within a calendar year.
7. Ned Yost, Playoff Conquerer
The Royals players aren’t the only ones making their postseason debuts right now. Manager Ned Yost is a rookie to the playoffs, and made some history as his team romped through the AL Playoffs.
Ned Yost: 8-0 as manager in postseason (1st manager to win his first 8 postseason games) (via @eliassports)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 15, 2014
8. From Wild Card to World Series
Despite the Wild Card game only being around for three seasons, no team had ever won the play-in game and then gone on to the World Series. Until the Royals beat the A’s and swept through the Angels and Orioles.
Previously, the Cardinals were the closest team to accomplishing the feat, pushing the Giants to Game 7 of the NLCS back in 2012.