With an American League-leading record of 59-38, the Royals are in uncharted territory. Kansas City needs to win only half its remaining games to post its first 90-win season since 1989, and it appears headed for its second straight trip to the postseason. The Royals traded for Reds ace Johnny Cueto on Sunday, solidifying their rotation in an attempt to return to the World Series.
Data found with assistance from the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index
Kansas City will open the World Series against the Giants on Tuesday night, but the Royals have already made history by winning their first eight playoff games, matching the longest win streak in a single postseason. (Overall, Kansas City has won 11 playoff games in a row dating back to the 1985 World Series, one game short of the record held by two generations of Yankees teams.) Only the 2005 White Sox, who won games 2-5 of the ALCS before sweeping the World Series, and the 2004 Red Sox, who famously overcame a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS before beating St. Louis 4-0, had previously won eight straight playoff games in one year.
Of course, for most of baseball’s history, winning eight straight playoff games was impossible; a championship was clinched with four (or occasionally five) wins before 1969, seven until 1985, and eight until 1995. In that light, the most impressive postseason run came from Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine of 1976, which swept the Phillies 3-0 in the NLCS and blanked the Yankees 4-0 in the World Series. Still, if they sweep the World Series, the Royals will join those Reds as the only perfect playoff teams of MLB’s multi-division era — with an even more impressive 12-0 record.