Statcast tracks Royals as they race to WS title
The Royals finished off their first World Series championship in 30 years on Sunday night, and appropriately, their aggressive baserunning took center stage.
During a 12-inning, 7-2 victory over the Mets in Game 5 at Citi Field, Kansas City went 4-for-4 in stolen bases and scored a critical late run with a daring dash to the plate. Statcast™ has been tracking the Royals' exploits on the bases throughout the season, and Sunday was no exception.
With help from Statcast™, here is a look at five key plays from what turned out to be the final Major League game of 2015.
Dyson delivers in the clutch
With the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the 12th inning, Kansas City's Jarrod Dyson pinch-ran for Salvador Perez, who opened the frame with a single against New York reliever Addison Reed. Following a pair of pickoff attempts and a pair of balls to Alex Gordon, Dyson took off for second on a 92.3 mph fastball that was called a strike. The speedy outfielder took his first step in 0.31 seconds and reached a maximum speed of 21.5 mph as he made it to second in 3.8 seconds. That was fast enough to beat the 84.5 mph throw of catcher Travis d'Arnaud, whose pop time of 2.0 seconds was slower than on two previous stolen bases by Lorenzo Cain. Later in the inning, pinch-hitter Christian Colon drove in Dyson with the go-ahead run, the first of five the Royals scored in the 12th.
Hosmer hustles home
With the Royals trailing the Mets, 2-1, in the top of the ninth inning, Eric Hosmer stood on third base with one out, representing the potential tying run. It didn't look like that run would score on Perez's broken-bat one-hopper to the left side, which had an exit velocity of 43.2 mph, the lowest of any batted ball in the series. Third baseman David Wright moved to his left fo field it, but while he glanced back at Hosmer, he didn't force him back toward the base.
As soon as Hosmer saw Wright turn and begin his throw to first, he took off. With a secondary lead distance of 9.5 feet, Hosmer reached a top speed of 19.7 mph, but the Mets still had a good chance to throw him out at the plate. However, first baseman Lucas Duda pulled his throw well to the first-base side of the plate, and d'Arnaud couldn't corral it with a diving attempt. Hosmer slid in safely, and the game went to extra innings.
Twice is nice for Cain
After Cain hit a two-out single off Mets right-hander Matt Harvey in the top of the first inning, he quickly moved himself into scoring position. On the first pitch to Hosmer, Cain broke almost instantly, taking his first step in 0.04 seconds. Cain then reached a maximum speed of 21.5 mph, making the trip to second in 3.7 seconds. d'Arnaud was quick to catch and throw, with a pop time clocked at 1.90 seconds, his third-fastest of the season. But his 85.2 mph throw bounced in front of the bag, and Cain had an easy steal.
Cain matched up against Harvey and d'Arnaud again in the ninth. With the Royals down, 2-0, Cain led off with a walk and tried to steal second with Hosmer at the plate. Once again, he took his first step in 0.04 seconds, and his maximum speed was an almost-identical 21.6 mph. Cain reached second in 3.8 seconds, beating an 85.3 mph throw from d'Arnaud, whose pop time was measured at 1.94 seconds, his 10th-best mark of the year. Just like that, Cain was back in scoring position, and he soon brought home his team's first run on Hosmer's double.
Granderson goes deep, runs hard
Leading off the bottom of the first inning, Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson gave his team an early advantage. After falling behind, 0-2, Granderson jumped on a changeup from Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez, launching it at an exit velocity of 104.4 mph. The ball soared well over the right-center field wall at a projected distance of 410 feet and gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. Granderson wasted little time on his way around the bases, circling them in 17.81 seconds. That was the 13th-fastest trot time on a non inside-the-park homer this season, including third-fastest in the postseason.