The Royals’ series opening victories on Thursday and Friday pushed their season road record to a robust 46-33. They’re 20-8 in their last 28 road games entering Saturday’s contest, and have gone 7-1-1 in their last nine road series.
Only two teams in the franchise’s 46-year history have won more road games. In 1977, they went 47-34 and the 1980 Royals finished 48-33. If they sweep the White Sox this weekend, the Royals would match that record.
The Royals completed the home portion of the schedule 42-39, which presents this question: Would the Royals prefer to open the postseason away from Kauffman Stadium?
Not at all.
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“We want to play in front of our fans,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s been a long time for our fans to see a watch a playoff game. We’re going to work hard this season to try and make that happen.”
Entering Friday, the Angels, Dodgers and Mariners had won more road games than the Royals.
With the Royals and A’s winning on Friday and the Tigers losing, Kansas City remained a game ahead of Oakland in the wild card race and closed to within a game of Detroit in the Central Division race. If the Royals and Tigers tie for the division title, the tie-breaking game would be played next week at Comerica Park. If the Royals finish second in the division and in no worse than a tie for the wild card, that game against the A’s would be held at Kauffman on Tuesday.
A Ventura scratch?
Yordano Ventura is scheduled to start Sunday’s regular-season finale. But what if that game is meaningless, and the Royals cannot improve their position in the postseason picture or standings?
A rotation skip would allow the Royals to set their pitching beyond the AL wild card game, and James Shields would likely get get the call on Tuesday. That way, the Royals, if they would win the wild card game, could start Ventura and Danny Duffy in the first two games of a American League Division Series on Thursday and Friday.
Liam Hendriks would be the likely starter on Sunday if Ventura doesn’t go.
“We’ll get there when we get there,” Yost said of playoff decisions.