2015 American League Championship Series

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2015 American League Championship Series
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Team (Wins) Manager Season
Kansas City Royals (4) Ned Yost 95-67, .586, 12 GA
Toronto Blue Jays (2) John Gibbons 93-69, .574, 6 GA
Dates: October 16–23
MVP: Alcides Escobar (Kansas City)
Television: United States:
Canada:
TV announcers: Joe Buck,[1] Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci, Ken Rosenthal, and Erin Andrews
Radio: ESPN
Radio announcers: Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone
Umpires: John Hirschbeck (crew chief), Laz Díaz, Dan Iassogna, Jeff Nelson, Tony Randazzo (Games 1–2), Jim Reynolds (Games 3–6), and Hunter Wendelstedt
ALDS: Kansas City Royals beat Houston Astros (3–2)
  Toronto Blue Jays beat Texas Rangers (3–2)
 < 2014 ALCS 2016 > 
2015 World Series

The 2015 American League Championship Series (ALCS) was a best-of-seven playoff contested between the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals for the American League (AL) pennant and the right to play in the 2015 World Series. The series is the 46th in league history. The series was broadcast by Fox and Fox Sports 1 in the United States, with Fox airing Game 1 and Fox Sports 1 airing Games 2–6. Sportsnet, a property of Blue Jays owner Rogers Communications, simulcast Fox and Fox Sports 1's coverage in Canada. Game 1 took place on October 16, and the series ended with the Royals winning Game 6 on October 23.[2]

This was the second ALCS matchup between Kansas City and Toronto; the Royals previously rallied from a 3–1 deficit to defeat the Blue Jays in seven games in the 1985 ALCS.

Background

The Kansas City Royals finished the season with a 95–67 record, winning the American League Central division title for the first time since that division was created in 1994. Their season win total was the most since winning 97 games in 1980. The Royals defeated the Houston Astros in five games in the American League Division Series (ALDS), advancing to their second straight ALCS and eighth overall.

The Toronto Blue Jays made it to the postseason for the first time since winning the 1993 World Series, finishing the season 93–69 to clinch the American League East title. Playing in their first ALDS in team history, the Blue Jays overcame a 2–0 deficit to defeat the Texas Rangers in five games and move on to the ALCS. It was their first ALCS appearance since 1993, and sixth overall.

The Blue Jays won four of seven games against the Royals in the 2015 regular season.

Summary

Kansas City won the series, 4–2.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 16 Toronto Blue Jays – 0, Kansas City Royals – 5 Kauffman Stadium 3:15 39,753[3] 
2 October 17 Toronto Blue Jays – 3, Kansas City Royals – 6 Kauffman Stadium 3:19 40,357[4] 
3 October 19 Kansas City Royals – 8, Toronto Blue Jays – 11 Rogers Centre 3:13 49,751[5] 
4 October 20 Kansas City Royals – 14, Toronto Blue Jays – 2 Rogers Centre 3:39 49,501[6] 
5 October 21 Kansas City Royals – 1, Toronto Blue Jays – 7 Rogers Centre 2:56 49,325[7] 
6 October 23 Toronto Blue Jays – 3, Kansas City Royals – 4 Kauffman Stadium 3:42 (:45 delay) 40,494[8]

Game summaries

Game 1

October 16, 2015 8:07 p.m. (EDT) at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
Kansas City 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 2 x 5 8 1
WP: Edinson Vólquez (1–0)   LP: Marco Estrada (0–1)
Home runs:
TOR: None
KC: Salvador Pérez (1)
Attendance: 39,753

Kansas City opened the scoring in the 3rd inning with RBI hits from Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain. Salvador Pérez added a solo homer in the 4th to give the Royals a 3-0 lead. Meanwhile, Edinson Vólquez pitched 6 scoreless innings and surrendering only 2 hits to earn his first postseason win. The Royals' touted bullpen completed the shutout, making this just the 6th time all season that Toronto was held to no runs.[9]

Game 2

October 17, 2015 4:07 p.m. (EDT) at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 10 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1 x 6 8 0
WP: Danny Duffy (1–0)   LP: David Price (0–1)   Sv: Wade Davis (1)
Attendance: 40,357

This game marked the fourth time that the Royals rallied back from a multi-run deficit to win in this post-season.[10] With a 3-0 lead and having retired 18 batters in a row,[11] David Price was cruising and appeared to be in line for his first ever postseason win as a starting pitcher. However, Ben Zobrist led off the seventh inning with a pop-up to shallow right field; second baseman Ryan Goins tracked the ball back and waived off charging right fielder José Bautista, but inexplicably ducked out of the way at the last moment and allowed the ball to drop for a single. Price began to unravel, surrendering hits to four of the next six batters, including a go-ahead RBI double by Alex Gordon.[12] The Royals would score a total of 5 runs in the inning and would add an insurance run in the 8th before sealing a 6-3 victory.[13] This was David Price's seventh consecutive playoff loss, tying him with Randy Johnson for the all-time record.[14]

Game 3

October 19, 2015 8:07 p.m. (EDT) at Rogers Centre in Toronto
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 4 8 15 0
Toronto 0 3 6 0 1 0 0 1 x 11 11 0
WP: Marcus Stroman (1–0)   LP: Johnny Cueto (0–1)
Home runs:
KC: Kendrys Morales (1)
TOR: Troy Tulowitzki (1), Josh Donaldson (1), Ryan Goins (1)
Attendance: 49,751

Toronto's high powered offense finally came to life in Game 3 in front of their home fans. Ryan Goins had a big game both at bat and on the field to recover from his defensive gaffe in Game 2. He hit a 2-run single in the 2nd and homered in the 5th, but not before the Blue Jays opened the game wide open in the 3rd when Troy Tulowitzki homered, Kevin Pillar hit an RBI double, and Josh Donaldson added another homer, giving Toronto a 9-2 lead. Kansas City wouldn't give up, however, as they plated 4 runs in the 9th, forcing Toronto to bring in closer Roberto Osuna, who surrendered a home run to Kendrys Morales. It wouldn't be enough, as Osuna finally ended the rally and Toronto took the must-win game to earn their first ALCS win since 1993.[15]

Game 4

October 20, 2015 4:07 p.m. (EDT) at Rogers Centre in Toronto
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 4 1 0 0 0 0 4 3 2 14 15 0
Toronto 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
WP: Luke Hochevar (1–0)   LP: R.A. Dickey (0–1)
Home runs:
KC: Ben Zobrist (1), Alex Ríos (1)
TOR: None
Attendance: 49,501

The Royals got to Toronto starter R.A. Dickey early in Game 4, with a 2-run homer from only the second batter of the game, Ben Zobrist. Kansas City put up 5 total runs in the first 2 innings to chase Dickey from the game. Royals starter Chris Young, who had split time in the starting rotation and the bullpen, surrendered Toronto's only 2 runs in 4 and 2/3 innings pitched; Kansas City's bullpen then shut the Blue Jays down for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the Royals' offense exploded, adding 9 runs in the final 3 innings as Toronto's bullpen failed to stop the bleeding.[16]

In an effort to save his bullpen and to the amusement of some fans and players, Toronto manager John Gibbons elected to bring utility infielder Cliff Pennington to pitch the 9th inning against the Royals.[17] This marked the first time that a position player pitched in a playoff game. Pennington surrendered two unearned runs before retiring the side.

Game 5

October 21, 2015 4:07 p.m. (EDT) at Rogers Centre in Toronto
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 0
Toronto 0 1 0 0 0 4 1 1 x 7 8 0
WP: Marco Estrada (1–1)   LP: Edinson Vólquez (1–1)
Home runs:
KC: Salvador Pérez (2)
TOR: Chris Colabello (1)
Attendance: 49,325

Game 5 appeared to be a pitchers' duel early on. Toronto starter Marco Estrada and Kansas City starter Edinson Vólquez dominated early on, with the only run of the game being scored on Chris Colabello's solo home run in the 2nd. Things began to unwind for Volquez in the bottom of the 6th as he walked two batters and hit a third to load the bases. Volquez then walked Edwin Encarnación to force in a run and give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead. With Troy Tulowitzki coming to the plate, Royals manager Ned Yost opted to pull Volquez in favor of Kelvin Herrera; however, Tulowitzki promptly lined a bases-clearing double off the center-field wall to make the score 5-0. That proved to be more than enough for Estrada, who only surrendered a solo home run from Salvador Pérez in his 7 and 2/3 innings of work. Roberto Osuna pitched a perfect 9th to keep Toronto's season alive and send the series back to Kansas City.[18]

Game 6

October 23, 2015 8:07 p.m. (EDT) at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 7 0
Kansas City 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 x 4 9 0
WP: Wade Davis (1–0)   LP: Roberto Osuna (0–1)
Home runs:
TOR: José Bautista 2 (2)
KC: Ben Zobrist (2), Mike Moustakas (1)
Attendance: 40,494

Ben Zobrist opened the scoring just 2 batters into the bottom of the 1st with a solo home run to left field. Mike Moustakas would add another solo home run for Kansas City in the 2nd inning, but this one wasn’t without controversy. It was a liner right at the right-center field wall where a fan reached out and caught the ball at the top corner of the wall. The ball was initially ruled a home run, but Toronto wanted the play reviewed. The Fox commentary crew of Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds, and Tom Verducci seemed confident that the ruling would be overturned, but the ruling of a home run stood with the play being too close to overturn. Buck, Reynolds, and Verducci would later call it a good call by the reviewing crew upon viewing further replays, but debated the call several times throughout the broadcast.[19]

Toronto would get on the board in the 4th when José Bautista blasted a solo home run off the Royals Hall of Fame in left field to make it 2-1. The Blue Jays would threaten again in the 5th when Yordano Ventura gave up consecutive walks to lead off the inning. However, he would settle down and induced 2 pop-ups for 2 outs, which then brought up eventual AL MVP Josh Donaldson. Donaldson would hit a hard line-drive towards 3rd base, but Moustakas was able to come up with a spectacular diving catch to end the inning.[20]

In the bottom of the 7th, Moustakas reached base on a broken bat blooper to center-field. Salvador Pérez was up next and hit a deep fly ball to left field. Left fielder Ben Revere then one-upped Moustakas’ earlier catch with a leaping catch at the top of the left-field wall. Revere then tried to double off Moustakas at 1st, but Moustakas got back in time to leave it at one out. Ryan Goins then kept the good defense going by making a sliding stop on a hard Alex Gordon grounder to get Gordon out at 1st, to make it 2 outs, but Moustakas reached 2nd on the play. At this point David Price was taken out of the game in favor of right hander Aarón Sanchez to face Alex Ríos. On a 1-2 pitch, Rios hammered a ball to left field for a single that drove in Moustakas to give Kansas City a 3-1 lead.[21]

In the top of the 8th, Kansas City manager Ned Yost brought in Ryan Madson to get the Royals through the 8th after Kelvin Herrera kept Toronto scoreless for the last 1 and 2/3 innings. Yost would say after the game he put in Madson because of the impending rain: he didn’t want to bring in closer Wade Davis early in case there was a lengthy rain delay which could prevent him from pitching the 9th.[22] Madson faced Revere who hit a high chopper to Alcides Escobar, but Revere beat the throw to 1st base for a lead-off infield single. Up next was the Blue Jays’ MVP Donaldson, but he remains hitless on the night when Madson gets him to strike out for the first out. Madson faced Bautista next who promptly blasted a 2-run home run down the left-field line to tie the game at 3. Madson then walked Edwin Encarnación to force Yost to pull Madson from the game in favor of Davis. Davis induced a pop-out from Chris Colabello, before throwing a wild pitch against Troy Tulowitzki which allowed Encarnacion to advance to 2nd. It was only Davis’ 2nd wild pitch of the season. Facing a 3-2 count against Tulowitzki, the rain started to fall in Kansas City. Davis got Tulowitzki to swing and miss for a strike out to end the inning, but Yost's fears came true as the grounds crew brought out the tarp for a rain delay, meaning Davis would have a lengthy wait between pitching appearances if he was even able to return depending on the length of the delay.[23]

After a 45-minute rain delay, Toronto manager John Gibbons sent out closer Roberto Osuna to pitch the bottom of the 8th. Lorenzo Cain worked an 8-pitch walk to get on base. Eric Hosmer was up next and worked a 2-2 count before driving a ball to the left field corner for a hit. Unlike Cain's 1st-to-home play against the Astros earlier in the playoffs, Cain was not running on the pitch: he ran on contact. Bautista fielded the ball and threw to 2nd while Cain was flying around 2nd. As soon as Royals 3rd base coach Mike Jirschele saw Bautista throw to 2nd, he started waiving Cain home. By the time the throw reached 2nd base, Cain was already well past 3rd base and by the time Tulowitzki's throw to home reached catcher Russell Martin, Cain was sliding past home for the go-ahead run. For Jirschele, there was some redemption due to the criticism he faced for not sending Alex Gordon home in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. It was the second time of the 2015 post-season that Cain had scored from 1st base on a single from Hosmer.[24] On the play, Cain went from 1st to home in under 10.5 seconds.[25]

Davis came back in to pitch the top of the 9th after having waited just over an hour between in-game pitches. Martin greeted Davis with his first hit of the series on a single to center-field. Dalton Pompey then came in to run for Martin and promptly stole 2nd base to put the tying run in scoring position. Then on a 2-2 pitch into the dirt to Kevin Pillar, Pompey stole 3rd and Perez couldn’t scoop up the ball to even make a throw. That put a runner on 3rd with no outs and a 3-2 count to Pillar. After a foul ball, Davis missed on a pitch inside to walk Pillar to put runners on the corners with no outs. Dioner Navarro came in to pinch-hit for Goins with Toronto needing a catcher to replace Martin. On a 1-1 pitch, Davis got a called strike that was high and outside. The Toronto dugout not only started complaining about that, but they believed Davis should’ve been called for a quick pitch balk, which would have brought the tying run home. Instead it was a 1-2 count and Davis got Navarro to swing and miss for the first out. However, Pillar stole 2nd on the pitch to leave the Royals without a double-play chance and thus putting 2 runners in scoring position. That brought up Revere who worked a 2-1 count when Davis threw a pitch that appeared to be high and outside, but was called a strike to make it a 2-2 count instead of a 3-1 count. On the next pitch, Revere swung and missed for the second strikeout of the inning (Revere angry over the 2-1 pitch was shown beating up a trash can with his bat in the dugout), bringing up Donaldson with two runners in scoring position in a 4-3 game. On a 2-1 pitch Donaldson grounded out to 3rd for the final out to clinch back-to-back AL Pennants for the Kansas City Royals.[26]

Composite line score

2015 ALCS (4–2): Kansas City Royals beat Toronto Blue Jays

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto Blue Jays 0 4 9 1 1 6 1 4 0 26 46 1
Kansas City Royals 6 2 3 1 2 0 10 8 6 38 59 1
Total attendance: 269,181   Average attendance: 44,864

References

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  2. Newman, Mark (September 24, 2015). "2015 Postseason Schedule". mlb.com. MLB Advanced Media, LP. Retrieved October 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  10. Chisholm, Gregor; Flanagan, Jeffrey (October 17, 2015). "KC pops Price's bubble in 7th for 2-0 lead". mlb.com. Kansas City, Missouri: MLB Advanced Media, LP. Retrieved October 20, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  13. Corcoran, Cliff (October 17, 2015). "Royals come from behind to defeat Blue Jays in Game 2 of ALCS". Sports Illustrated. Kansas City, Missouri: Time Inc. Retrieved October 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  16. Official MLB Collector's Edition 2015 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals. United States of America: Fenn/McClelland & Stewart. 2015. p. 54.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Jays' Pennington becomes first position player to pitch in playoffs". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 1 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Official MLB Collector's Edition 2015 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals. United States of America: Fenn/McClelland & Stewart. 2015. p. 58.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "2015 World Series Collector's Edition: 8-Disc Collection". Official MLB DVD.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "2015 World Series Collector's Edition: 8-Disc Collection". Official MLB DVD.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "2015 World Series Collector's Edition: 8-Disc Collection". Major League Baseball. Official MLB DVD.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Lee, Jane. "Weather may have led Yost to turn to Madson". MLB.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "2015 World Series Collector's Edition: 8-Disc Collection". Major League Baseball. Official MLB DVD.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Official MLB Collector's Edition 2015 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals. United States of America: Fenn/McClelland & Stewart. 2015. p. 60.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. 2015 World Series Collector's Edition Sleevestats. United States of America: Major League Baseball, Inc. 2015. p. 11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "2015 World Series Collector's Edition: 8-Disc Collection". Major League Baseball. Official MLB DVD.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

  • "2015 Postseason". MLB.com. Retrieved August 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>