Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kansas City Royals Advance to World Series With Help From Caleb Joseph Error

Entering Wednesday night's game, the Orioles were down 3-0 to the Kansas City Royals, only the 10th time a team held such a lead in a League Championship game since 1985. Only the 2004 Boston Red Sox were able to overcome such a deficit, something that then-member Pedro Martinez believed that the Orioles could do:

For Baltimore, the game got ugly in Kansas City's first chance at the plate.

In the bottom of the first inning, Alcides Escobar hit a chopper over the pitcher's mound. Second baseman Johnathan Schoop tried to field the ball, but it hit off of the second base bag and away from Schoop. By the time shortstop J.J. Hardy picked it up, Escobar had already crossed first base, and had reached safe with an infield single.

The next batter, Nori Aoki, was hit by the next pitch from Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez near the side of his right knee. Lorenzo Cain bunted the two runners over, bringing Eric Hosmer to the plate with runners on second and third with one out.

Hosmer hit an 88 mile-per-hour changeup to Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce. Pearce threw the fielder chopper to catcher Caleb Joseph. Joseph put his glove down on the left side of home plate, to try to get Escobar out trying to score. However, Escobar slid feet-first, and his right foot made contact with Joseph's glove, causing the ball to bounce away behind and to the right of home plate. Joseph rushed to the ball, but held onto it as Aoki crossed the plate with the second Royals run. Hosmer moved up to second on the misplay.

In the top of the 3rd, Orioles third baseman Ryan Flaherity hit a solo home run to left. After that, the Orioles offense was virtually silent, collecting just two more hits and scattering a couple of walks as they lost to the Royals, 2-1.

Kansas City was also only able to hit 5 more knocks after that play in the first inning. With both offenses not hitting the ball well, the question arrises: Had it not been for the missed catch error (assuming Escobar was called safe on the play and the Orioles escaped the inning without any more runs scoring), the game, if it had continued as it did, would have been tied at 1 going to the bottom of the 9th inning.

There is no way of knowing what would have happened had the Orioles somehow won the game in extra innings. The next game would have been at Kansas City on Thursday and then back to Baltimore for games 6 and 7, had they been needed to settle the series. But we will never know, as ALCS MVP Lorenzo Cain and the silencer Kansas City bullpen will play in the World Series for the first time in 29 years. Game 1 is on October 21. They will be taking on the San Francisco Giants or the St. Louis Cardinals, depending on which team wins the NLCS. The Giants currently lead the series, 3-1.

See the play:

1 comment:

  1. A well written sports story with great descriptions and baseball play information. I'm not a huge sports person, nor knowledgeable about it, so your description helped me to understand the blunder, and the visual of course assisted in my understanding.