The Kansas City Royals are riding some sort of large, terrifying wave; and they have managed to maintain their balance so far. The question becomes how big this wave actually is and what might happen when the ball club eventually falls off.
The Royals made history Friday night as the first team to play - and also win - three straight extra-inning games to begin a postseason. KC won in 12 innings on Tuesday against Oakland and have beaten the Los Angeles Angels in 11 innings to begin the ALDS. Every team that has won three extra-inning playoff games throughout their entire run has gone on to win the World Series. The Royals are a long way from that, though.
They do have a 2-0 lead in the series, which is heading back to Kauffman Stadium where fans have bought into the excitement surrounding this team...literally. The ticket prices in the secondary, online market reflect the fact that Kansas City is the baseball capital of the world for the time being. Standing room only tickets for game three of the ALDS on Sunday are currently selling for over $300. By comparison, no other ALDS game that's next on the schedule in any other series even approaches $100.
Even on a Sunday after the Kansas City Chiefs dismantled the New England Patriots and now play another big game against the 49ers, KC fans are paying four times that of other fans to jam into Kauffman Stadium with hopes of the ALCS.
Royals are favorites
And the Royals have their man on the mound for that third game. James Shields, the team's ace who started in the Wildcard victory, takes the ball against CJ Wilson, who proved to be a very average pitcher this season for LA. Kansas City will enter the game as favorites and, with any luck, very well may be marching on to the ALCS Sunday by defeating the team with the best record in baseball this season by virtue of a sweep.
It's been a different man each time in extra-innings for the Royals. Sal Perez walked the team off on Tuesday, Mike Moustakas put his team in front on Thursday night and Eric Hosmer's two-run homer proved to be the decisive blow in last night's tilt. The Royals have gotten it done with great pitching and timely hitting - the formula that got them into the playoffs to start with. But Kansas City will eventually not win a game in extra-innings. It will also lose one at some point, too. And how the Royals respond to being knocked off that proverbial wave will dictate how sustainable this magical playoff run really is.