The Kansas City Royals won their first playoff game in 29 years with a dramatic come-from-behind win over the Oakland A’s in 12 innings despite what most are calling one of the worst blunders by a manager in recent playoff history.
The Royals trailed the A’s 7-3 in the eighth inning and became the first team ever to erase a deficit of at least four runs in the eighth inning or later and win a winner-take-all game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
However, the Royals may have never needed to make such a big comeback if not for the curious decision by manager Ned Yost to take out starting pitcher James Shields.
With the Royals winning 3-2, Shields gave up a single and a walk to start the sixth inning. Despite only throwing 88 pitches, the fewest by Shields in a start since 2011, Yost decided to bring in 23-year-old Yordano Ventura, a starting pitcher who has made one career relief appearance.
The move completely backfired as Brandon Moss hit a 3-run home run on the third pitch thrown by Ventura, giving the A’s a lead.
The move to pull the pending free agent from what could have been Shields’ last start with the Royals was almost universally condemned.
The thinking behind the move was that Shields had given up a home run earlier in the game to Moss and despite his success as a pitcher he does tend to give up a lot of home runs, something Yost was hoping to avoid.
However, Shields is the Royals’ ace, their best pitcher, and a guy who typically works deep into games.
But more importantly, Shields was brought to Kansas City to pitch in games like this and Yost took the ball out of his hand.
In the end, the Royals won and will move on to the next round and eventually the furor will die down. But in the meantime many feel the Royals won this game in spite of their manager.
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