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Are you still wondering why? Probably not.

Time probably has cauterized the wound of seeing the Royals, who did not win the American League Central, advance to the World Series ...

Instead of the Tigers, who did.

When the postseason began, many thought Comerica Park would host Game 1 Tuesday night and Game 2 on Wednesday.

But because they just "didn't get it done," which is how president and general manager Dave Dombrowski described the Tigers inability to win even one postseason game, Comerica Park is two weeks into its offseason.

The Series this year features a Kansas City-San Francisco matchup few could have envisioned. Neither won its division. Neither won 90 games.

This year, the Giants finished six games behind the Dodgers in the National League West and won eight fewer games than the Nationals, who entered the postseason on the heels of 96 victories — but the least likely NL team advanced.

The same can be said of the Royals, who finished one game behind the Tigers in the Central and won nine fewer games than the Angels, whom they swept in the Division Series, and seven fewer than the Orioles, whom they swept in the Championship Series.

And remember, the Royals went into the bottom of the eighth of their wild-card game against the A's trailing 7-3 with starter Jon Lester still on the mound for Oakland.

But with four stolen bases in the eighth filling them with the confidence they could win with their style, the Royals scored three, tied the game with the help of another steal in the ninth, and came from a run down in the 12th to win it.

They've not lost since.

What was it about the Royals that allowed them to stay loose enough, however, to stage those comebacks?

The credit for that goes in large part to their manager.

As a tactician, Ned Yost gets more than the normal amount of criticism. Former Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez, now a TSN analyst, excoriated him early in the postseason.

For his insistence on bunting, Yost was verbally mauled during the final Tigers-Royals series, as well.

But managing is more than giving signs from the dugout or going against the grain with surprising strategy. It's about how you prepare your team to get the most of itself.

In that regard, Yost — by his own admission — had to change his approach.

"I always tried to push them to be more like me instead of just letting them be themselves," Yost said before the ALCS. "When I came up, I was the guy that would try to run through a wall. I was always, you know, real disciplined.

"I grew up under Bobby Cox, and he had strict rules in the clubhouse. They were regimented, old-school rules. When you grow up like that under Bobby — winning 12 championships when I was there — it's got to work. So you start your managerial career the same way, trying to set a rigid set of guidelines. This is what I want you to do. This is how I want you to play. This is how I want you to act."

Rigid isn't always better, though. What's more, being rigid wasn't working for the Royals.

"I learned last year (when the Royals went from 72 to 86 wins) that if you let a young group that has energy, and is excited to play the game, be themselves, you're probably in a better position," Yost said. "They have youthful enthusiasm and they come from a different generation than I do. Letting them be who they are frees them up to be who they are on the field.

"So it's been fun watching them develop. You can see they are a loose group. You're seeing the excitement. They like each other. They play hard for each other. They love to win together, and it's just a matter of letting them be themselves. It was a big lesson I learned."

One that probably saved his job.

One from which the entire Kansas City team is benefiting.

tom.gage@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/Tom_Gage

Kansas City vs. San Francisco

All games on Fox/WMGC (best-of-7)

Tuesday: San Francisco (Bumgarner 20-11) at Kansas City (Shields 15-8), 8:07 p.m.

Wednesday: San Francisco (Peavy 6-4) at Kansas City (Ventura 14-10), 8:07 p.m.

Friday: at San Francisco (Hudson 9-13), 8:07 p.m.

Saturday: at San Francisco (Vogelsong 8-13), 8:07 p.m.

x-Sunday: at San Francisco, 8:07 p.m.

x-Tuesday, Oct. 28: at Kansas City, 8:07 p.m.

x-Wednesday, Oct. 29: at Kansas City, 8:07 p.m.

x-if necessary

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