MLB playoffs: Royals host Athletics in AL wildcard showdown

Kansas City baseball fans are rejoicing that a meaningful game will be played in their town Tuesday night. Oakland has been down this road before.

Nam Y. Huh/AP
Kansas City Royals players and coaching staff celebrate after the Royals defeated the Chicago White Sox 3-1 in a baseball game in Chicago on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.

For one team, the postseason has almost become an annual rite of fall. For the other, Tuesday night marks the end of nearly 30 years of frustration.

The Oakland Athletics will play the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City in a one-game playoff for the right to meet the Los Angeles Angels in the American League Division Series, beginning Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

Oakland will start lefthander Jon Lester, whom they acquired at the July 31st trade deadline from the Boston Red Sox. Lester has a record of six wins and four losses since the trade. Overall, he was 16-11 in 2014. Lester has a 6-4 record in the postseason.

The Royals will counter with righthander James Shields, who had 14 wins versus 8 losses and an earned run average of 3.21 this season. Prior to joining the Royals in 2013, Shields compiled a 2-4 postseason record with the Tampa Bay Rays including a trip to the 2008 World Series.

Both teams used almost all 162 regular season games to reach the postseason. Oakland clinched their wildcard berth by beating the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Kansas City punched its ticket with a win over the White Sox in Chicago last Friday night.

With Tuesday night's wildcard game, the Oakland Athletics have now reached Major League Baseball postseason in eight of the last 15 years. The past two years, the A's lost to Detroit in one of the American League's Division series, three games to two.

Prior to that, the Athletics franchise had played in 15 World Series between 1905 and 1990. Since moving to Oakland, the A's have won four World Series championships.

As part of their franchise history, the Athletics actually spent time in Kansas City. The franchise moved to the Great Plains from Philadelphia after the 1954 season and stayed there through the 1967 season, when they moved further west.

Following the A's departure, the Royals came on the scene in 1969. After memorable American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in the 1970s, Kansas City finally broke through in 1980 and reached their first World Series. 16 years after their birth, the Royals won the 1985 World Series by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Tuesday night marks the Royals' first trip back to the MLB postseason in 29 years.

You can watch the Royals and Athletics on TBS, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

[Editor's note: The original version of this article misstated the throwing arm of Royals pitcher James Shields.]

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.