For a few months the Kansas City Royals looked like they would be enjoying the spoiler role down the stretch of the MLB Postseason run but instead they find themselves well in contention. Just in front of them by a couple of games is the Cleveland Indians. They are not only one of the main rivals from the American League Central division but also the single team the Royals have the most control over beating for that wildcard spot. Starting on Monday they have a three-game series against the tribe that could mean their chances improving or completely falling apart.
James Shields will be the man that goes in the first game to try and set the tone. The idea of the Royals getting the chance to play spoiler to the Indians while they play savior of their own season should be all the motivation these guys need. It will not be an easy task and they very well might fail, but they have to make sure they go down fighting if they do. Even winning one of three is a ton better than getting swept. In the same way, they really need to sweep the tribe to have the greatest effect on themselves and their rival.
What happens from there will be up to the other teams in contention. The New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and even Tampa Bay Rays are the teams in the mix here. Any of them could wind up with those two wildcard spots because for the first time both are coming down to the wire. The Royals have an advantage of being able to shove themselves above one of their several opponents and they had better take it.