As Friday became Saturday, the after-party continued for the playoff-bound Royals.
But not in blowout kind of way.
“We had a good time. We hung out together, but we didn’t get crazy,” Mike Moustakas said. “We knew there were more games to play.”
Not just playing out the string of games, but games important to postseason positioning. The Royals’ 5-4 loss Saturday to the White Sox kept them one game behind the Tigers in the American League Central Division and one game ahead of the A’s for the top AL wild-card spot after Oakland lost 5-4 to Texas.
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“We want to keep pushing,” pitcher Wade Davis said.
Manager Ned Yost said he didn’t send the team out with a curfew because everybody knew the stakes.
“They knew they were going to have fun but not to take it deep into the night,” Yost said.
The players had their gathering, and the coaches and front office had theirs. Around celebrations, the Royals’ brass discussed playoff rosters. Nothing is set until the Royals’ postseason destination is determined.
If the Royals and Tigers finish with the same record after today’s games, and a tie-breaker game is necessary on Monday, everybody on the current roster would be available.
The roster is trimmed to 25 for the postseason, starting with the wild-card game, and even that roster will be different from the one for the division and league championship series.
In a one-game playoff, the Royals figure to carry eight or nine pitchers, perhaps sitting starting pitchers.
Last year, the Pirates and Reds each carried two starting pitchers for the National League game.
In the American League game, the Rays and Indians each carried three starting pitchers.
Teams typically carry fewer starting pitchers for the one-and-done games. It’s not unusual to see September call-ups for the wild-card game. For the Royals, a player like outfielder Terrance Gore could be a strong candidate because of his speed. He’s appeared in nine games and has five stolen bases in five attempts.
“There are so many scenarios,” Yost said before Saturday’s game. “It’s fun to sit back and think about them, but we just don’t know what’s going to happen yet.”
And they may not until this afternoon.