2015 Kansas City Royals
2015 Kansas City Royals / Franchise: Kansas City Royals / BR Team Page
World Series Champs
Managed by Ned Yost
History, Comments, Contributions
A lot was expected of the 2015 Kansas City Royals after they had surprised all observers with their unexpected run to the World Series in 2014, staying alive until the last out of Game 7 was recorded. Although top starter James Shields had left over the off-season, he was replaced with a pitcher of similar value in Edinson Volquez, while DH Billy Butler had also found a replacement in Kendrys Morales. The addition of Alex Rios to take over for Nori Aoki in right field filled another hole. Their already strong bullpen included two new members coming off seasons lost to injuries in Ryan Madson and Luke Hochevar, both of whom had been outstanding relievers before their health issues. The Royals started the season red hot, sweeping their first two series. An encouraging sign was that the Royals were hitting more homers than the previous season, when they had made the postseason in spite of hitting the fewest long balls in the American League; they had found their power stroke in the postseason, however, and that carried over into April of 2015. When they defeated the Minnesota Twins, 12-3, on April 13th, they became the last undefeated club in the majors at 7-0. It was the second best start in team history, following the surprising 9-0 start of the 2003 edition of the team. They suffered a blow when RF Rios, who was off to a hot start, hitting .321 in the seven games, was hit by a pitch from J.R. Graham late in that game and suffered a broken bone, putting him on the disabled list. However, the Royals had some options to replace him, with both speedster Jarrod Dyson and 30-year-old Brazilian rookie Paulo Orlando ready to step in. Orlando had already put his name in the record books when his first three major league hits were all triples, something no one had done before him. The Royals suffered their first loss on April 15th, 3-1 to the Twins.
On April 17-19, they met the Oakland Athletics in a tension-filled week-end series at Kauffman Stadium, following their epic match-up in the previous year's Wild Card Game. In the opening 6-4 Royals win, Oakland 3B Brett Lawrie slid hard into second base, injuring SS Alcides Escobar who had to sit out the rest of the series. In the second game, won 5-0 by the A's, P Yordano Ventura was tossed out for throwing at Lawrie following a homer by Josh Reddick. In the concluding contest, five members of the Royals were ejected but Kansas City still prevailed, 4 - 2. There was a bench-clearing incident for the third straight game, when OF Lorenzo Cain was hit by a pitch from Scott Kazmir in the 1st inning. Manager, Ned Yost, and pitching coach Dave Eiland both got the thumb as a result of the ensuing fracas, and umpire Greg Gibson issued a warning to both benches. In the 8th, P Kelvin Herrera was shown the door after throwing a 100-mph fastball behind Lawrie. In the argument that ensued, bench coach Don Wakamatsu and Escobar were also sent to the showers. Trailing 2 - 1, the Royals got their revenge in the bottom of the inning when Paulo Orlando led off with a walk and Cain followed with an RBI double before stealing third base. Eric Hosmer drew a walk and Kendrys Morales drove them both in with another double. Before the game, the Royals had placed All-Star closer Greg Holland on the disabled list, and it was his usual set-up man, Wade Davis, who recorded the save, while Franklin Morales, who took over for Herrera, was gifted a win after making only two pitches. There were more sparks on April 24th, when Ventura started a bench-clearing brawl in a game against the Chicago White Sox by shouting at Adam Eaton after fielding a comebacker to the mound; six players received suspensions as a result of that fracas. However, beyond all the extra-curricular activity, the Royals were in fact playing very well. By beating the Detroit Tigers, 8-1, on April 30th behind an excellent pitching performance by Danny Duffy, they ended the month of April with a record of 15-7, tied with the surprising Houston Astros for best in the American League at that early point.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, Kelvin Herrera, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez
- AL Gold Glove: Alcides Escobar (SS), Eric Hosmer (1B) and Salvador Perez (C)
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Kendrys Morales (DH)
- Ted Berg: "16 awesome things about the Kansas City Royals", For the Win, USA Today Sports, September 24, 2015. 
- Tracy Ringolsby: "Royals make statement against Tigers", mlb.com, April 30, 2015. 
- Tom Singer: "Breaking down KC's postseason run, win-by-win", mlb.com, November 3, 2015. 
- Lyle Spencer: "Gritty Royals champion impressive 6-0 start: KC plays with purpose in taking apart Angels in ALDS rematch", mlb.com, April 12, 2015.