For the first time in 29 years, the Kansas City Royals are going to be part of Major League Baseball’s postseason in one way or another, beating the Chicago White Sox 3-1 to ensure at least a place in the Wild Card game, while the Oakland A’s, able to stop the slide over the last week, beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 to put themselves one win away from clinching the spot.
The last time the Royals played past the regular season was in 1985, when George Brett and Bret Saberhagen had big seasons to lead the franchise to World Series glory, their second and final visit to the big stage, winning it against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 7-game series. Since then they’ve had just seven winning seasons. Finally, they’re putting one together with another two years in a row.
With two games left to play, the Royals might end up in the ALDS and not the wild card game against the A’s or the Mariners. After their 3-1 win over the White Sox, they’re one game behind the Detroit Tigers for the first place in the AL Central. The Tigers got clobbered by the Twins (11-4) so maybe there’s hope for the Royals that the best hitting team in baseball will suddenly slip just before the final hurdle.
For the A’s, making the postseason isn’t something rare. However, their collapse since the All-Star break which allowed the Angels to clinch the division as they’ll also finish with the best record in baseball, made it possible for the Seattle Mariners to come close and usurping one of the spots. Right now, after the A’s beat the Rangers 6-2, it’s going to take just one more win in the remaining road games in Arlington to clinch the wild card spot.
For the A’s, it’ll be their third consecutive playoff appearance. However, despite making the postseason 8 times over the last 23 years, they’ve won just one series in that span, usually finding themselves knocked out in the ALDS. They’ve lost in five games to the Detroit Tigers in both 2012 and 2013.
Their last playoff series that didn’t end with them losing in the final game was in 2006 – beating the Twins in the divisional series before getting swept by the Tigers in the ALCS. From 1988 to 1990 they made the World Series three consecutive times, winning it all in 1989 by sweeping the San Francisco Giants. In between they lost to the Dodgers and the Reds.