Players in the Postseason: #WinorGoHome #ItsBlackandWhite (Oct. 24)
Updated: Oct. 24
This player comes from an athletic family, his cousin being a former big-league pitcher. He started playing in youth leagues when he was 10 years old, and went on to participate in national-level play at 15, representing Venezuela. He and his wife, Francis, have one son, Maximiliano. Who is he?
The Extra Base
Lorenzo Cain's 10.47-second race from first to home in the bottom of the seventh inning not only represented the winning run in the Royals' AL pennant-clinching 4-3 victory, but it also typifies the aggressive approach that has helped take the Royals this far. The first batter after a 45-minute rain delay, Cain fouled off two pitches and worked a full-count walk off tough 20-year-old closer Roberto Osuna. When Eric Hosmer laced a 2-2 slider into the corner, third-base coach Mike Jirschele knew he would send Cain if Jose Bautista's throw went to second and Cain never stopped running.
"(Cain) did a great job running, hustling the whole way and not slowing down, and their third base coach did a great job making the decision to send him," said Bautista, who thought in the moment that his throw was going to be in time to hold Cain at third.
There is little stopping these Royals.
The Historical Precedent
Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter made his famous "mad dash" from first to home to score the winning run in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series at Sportsman's Park on Harry Walker's double to the gap in left-center field. The Cardinals won the game (and the series), 4-3, over the Red Sox. Unlike Lorenzo Cain, Slaughter was running on the pitch when he circled the bases and ran through a stop sign from his third-base coach while shortstop Johnny Pesky double-clutched on his relay throw to home.
The ALCS MVP
Alcides Escobar did what he does best in the ALCS, turning up the heat on the Blue Jays defensively, on the base paths and at the plate, to win the ALCS MVP award. The 28-year-old Venezuelan shortstop and leadoff hitter contributed 11 hits, including two doubles and a triple, with five RBIs and six runs in 23 at-bats. He also made plays defensively, including a memorable diving catch with runners on first and second in the second inning of Game 2.
"When I'm coming to the field every game in the postseason, my main thing is I want to win the game. I want to do the best I can," Escobar said. "And right now I'm really focused and I feel really good at home plate."
He hit safely in all six games, ending with a .478 average, and is on a 10-game hitting streak entering the World Series, which begins Tuesday in Kansas City at 8:07 p.m. ET on FOX.
The 2015 AL Champion Royals
They are led by many of the same core players -- Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis, Jarrod Dyson, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez. But these aren't the exact same Kansas City Royals who surprised everyone with a Wild Card-to-pennant run to get to the 2014 World Series.
This year's postseason roster has 12 new players, many of whom played instrumental roles in helping the team win the AL Central by 12 games. This year's team was helped by the additions of Kendrys Morales, Chris Young, Ryan Madson, Alex Rios and Ben Zobrist, who hit a first-inning home run in the Royals' pennant-clinching 4-3 victory over Toronto in Game 6.
The Mets' Optional Workout
Mets manager Terry Collins told most of the regulars to take the day off and skip the optional workout at Citi Field on Friday. So NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Matt Harvey were among those who got some rest. Meanwhile, slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who left the Mets' Game 4 win in the second inning, reportedly received a cortisone injection in his left shoulder and is expected to play in World Series Game 1 on Tuesday in Kansas City.
"He's one of my best friends. To be able to come through Minor Leagues together and to be able to get to this point together, to go to a World Series for back-to-back years, honestly words can't explain how happy I am."
-- Mike Moustakas on Eric Hosmer
The Trivia Answer
Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals
Follow us @MLB_Players and to catch our postseason social media series, titled #WinOrGoHome #ItsBlackandWhite, featuring some up-close photos courtesy of Getty Sports.