Top 25 Moments of the Last 5 years:  #22 – Bullpen Dominance

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The Kansas City Royals, after so many years of irrelevance, broke through in a big way from 2013-2017.  They rejuvenated a dormant fanbase and rekindled a passion for baseball in a town starving for something good.  There were many moments that defined this team throughout those years.  This is a list of the Top 25 moments.  They could be specific moments in time or something that spanned most or all the era.  Our No. 22 moment:

#25 – The James Shields Trade

#24 – That's What Speed Do!

#23 – Duffman Ks 16!

#22:  The Royals Bullpen Changes Baseball

H-D-H.  That was the acronym for the most dominant bullpen in baseball history.  It was brilliant because of its simplicity.  The Royals would have the starter go six innings.  If the Royals had the lead after six innings, 99.9% of the time it was over.  Not just over, O-V-E-R!

Kelvin Herrera would dominate the seventh inning with 100 mph heat.  Wade Davis would come to shut down the eighth with a dominate heater and devastating cutter.  This would lead to Greg Holland who would close the game with a heater complimented by what announcers would call a “splider”, a combination split-finger and slider.

This would keep opposing managers awake at night knowing what was coming and knowing there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.

Up until 2014, the key to winning a title was building a rotation of two or three aces that would dominate an opposing lineup with the bullpen being the guys who couldn’t cut it in the rotation.  The Royals would turn it into a deadly weapon.

All three of the H-D-H combo ended up being All-Stars and the Royals would add others such as Luke Hochevar, Ryan Madson, and long relievers like Chris Young.

As deadly as they were in the regular season, they were lethal in postseason.  Here were the ERAs of the bullpen members in the postseason.

Kelvin Herrera:  2-0, 1.26 ERA.

Wade Davis:  3-0, 0.36 ERA, 4 Saves.

Greg Holland:  0.82 ERA, 7 Saves.

Luke Hochevar:  2-0, 0.00 ERA.

The bullpen set many records.  Greg Holland set the Royals single season record for most saves with 47.  He also saved all four games in the 2014 ALCS.  When Holland was shut down half-way through 2015 because of Tommy John surgery, Wade Davis stepped right into the closer role and didn’t miss a beat.

The postseason moments were the best.  In the deciding Game 6 of the ALCS, Wade Davis waited over an hour between innings to earn the victory.  The Toronto Blue Jays, who had the league’s best offense, had the tying run on third and nobody out.  He struck out the next two and got the AL MVP, Josh Donaldson, to ground out to Moustakas to send the Royals to their second consecutive World Series.

However, the power and the depth of the bullpen was never more on display than in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series.  The combination of Danny Duffy, Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochevar, Wade Davis, Ryan Madson, and Chris Young pitched eight innings while giving up no earned runs and earning the 5-4 victory in the longest game in World Series history.

There have been many great bullpens in the history of baseball.  “The Nasty Boys” of the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, who helped pull off the upset of the Oakland A’s to win the World Series.  The New York Yankees bullpens of the late 1990s with Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland.  The 2016 Cleveland Indians with Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.

All those bullpens don’t even compare to the bullpen of the 2014-2015 Royals.  They transformed the game and made teams rethink the way they put together their rosters.  In this writer’s opinion, Major League Baseball has never seen a bullpen like that bullpen and may never see one as dominant again.  They were the best of all time.

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Top 25 Moments of the Last 5 years: #23 – Duffman Ks 16

The Kansas City Royals, after so many years of irrelevance, broke through in a big way from 2013-2017.  They rejuvenated a dormant fanbase and rekindled a passion for baseball in a town starving for something good.  There were many moments that defined this team throughout ... Read more

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The Kansas City Royals, after so many years of irrelevance, broke through in a big way from 2013-2017.  They rejuvenated a dormant fanbase and rekindled a passion for baseball in a town starving for something good.  There were many moments that defined this team throughout ... Read more

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Author: Christopher Till

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