30 years ago. 30 years ago, the Toronto Blue Jays were up 3-1 against the Kansas City Royals. The Jays took a commanding lead in their American League Championship Series and were all but destined for the World Series.
But the Kansas City Royals staged an improbable comeback and eventually defeated the Blue Jays in seven games. Interesting how the shoe is on the other foot now, isn’t it?
With the Blue Jays trailing the Royals 3-1 in ALCS, now would be an opportune time for the Blue Jays to exact some revenge for that 1985 ALCS.
After suffering a demoralizing loss in Game 3 by a score of 14-2 and being forced to even use a position player to record a few outs, the odds are not in the Toronto Blue Jays’ favour right now. Even with another game left to play today at home, the Royals clearly have the upper hand.
There’s a big difference between a 3-1 and 2-2 series after four games, but the Blue Jays will need to play flawless baseball from here on out to even have a chance to dispose of the Royals. It’s not impossible, but it’s going to be very difficult.
It’s not like the Blue Jays haven’t done this before; one week ago, they also dropped the first two games of their ALDS series against the Texas Rangers and eventually rallied to win three consecutive games to advance to the ALCS.
Who’s to say the Blue Jays couldn’t do the same against the Royals as well?
The difference this time around is this Kansas City Royals squad is of much higher calibre than the Texas Rangers. Games 3 and 4 of the ALDS heavily favoured the Blue Jays simply due to the matchups, but the Jays don’t have that same liberty against the Royals.
Aside from Johnny Cueto, the KC pitching staff have been lock tight and their bullpen is notorious for being one of the stingiest in baseball when it comes to giving up runs. Again, it’s not impossible for the Blue Jays to come back in this series, but it’s going to be even more difficult to do so against an opponent like the Kansas City Royals.
Going back to the 1985 ALCS for a moment; that is a distant memory in the minds of many Blue Jays fans. to some, it’s not even a memory at all as it happened before their time. But the 1985 ALCS was certainly a wake-up call for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The team that won a franchise high 99 wins during the regular season quickly learned that the Kansas City Royals were not a team to be messed with. And that bases loaded triple by Jim Sundburg off the top of the Exhibition Stadium fence was the final nail in the coffin for the 1985 Blue Jays.
Down 3-1 in the series, not many are expecting the Blue Jays to pull off yet another miracle in the postseason and miraculously come back to even up this series with the Royals, let alone win it. But strange things have already transpired this postseason.
Winning three consecutive games against one of the best teams in all of baseball is a big mountain to climb. But rather than staring up at the top of the mountain, the Jays should simply try to tackle that small peak in front of them.
And then the next one, and then the next one. Sending this series back to Kansas City would be a huge accomplishment in itself. And if that happens, the Blue Jays would have their two best pitchers ready for Game 6 and 7: David Price and Marcus Stroman.
Strange things have transpired against the Blue Jays in the past; namely losing that 1985 ALCS to the Kansas City Royals. Isn’t it time the Blue Jays finally got a little payback?
Image via MLB.com