The Royals are still in the playoffs hunt, but now they're a long shot.
It's been a wonderful season, though. Sunday, their most thrilling victory of the whole season was their 82nd victory; this is the Royals' first winning season since 2003, just their second winning season since 1994, and three more victories will mean their biggest winning season since the 1980s.
Back to Sunday, though. Thanks largely to James Shields' eight shutout innings, the Royals and Rangers were still scoreless in the bottom of the 10th. Shields had pitched eight innings, then Greg Holland had pitched one, and then Tiny Tim Collins pitched one. Both teams needed to win pretty bad, but the Royals especially. In the bottom of the 10th, with erstwhile Royals closer Joakin Soria pitching for the Rangers, the Royals loaded the bases with nobody out. But Mike Moustakas popped out, and pinch-hitter George Kottaras rapped into a fielder's choice.
That brought up Justin Maxwell. I probably would have bumped Maxwell for the lefty-hitting David Lough. You probably would have bumped Maxwell for the lefty-hitting David Lough. Ned Yost did not bump Maxwell for the lefty-hitting David Lough. All hail Ned Yost. And Justin Maxwell. Because
You might notice a fair number of people in the stands. The announced attendance was just shy of 28,000, maybe because of football. The stands were packed Saturday night when the Royals lost a close one, but just more than half-full Friday when they won a close one.
Sunday, I wrote a quick bit about the Royals' attendance this season. Got some fans worked up. I still don't see anything wrong with pointing out something that's true: Despite making some big off-season moves and playing well this season, the Royals didn't draw any more fans to the ballpark this year than last year. Which is, at the very least, interesting.
Of course, what's more interesting is that the Royals have played so well this season. What's more interesting is that the Royals sport the lowest ERA in the entire American League. What'll be interesting, too, is what the Royals do next off-season to address their hitting deficiencies. This has been a season for the ages, especially for Royals fans who can't remember the 1980s. Maybe that should be plenty enough, at least for now.