Omaha actually entered the PCL playoffs with less than a .500 record at 70-74 and then went 7-1 in postseason play to finish 77-75. How did Jirschele pull that off?
"First of all, our pitching did well all year. But the key was, once we lost those guys up here -- [Pedro] Ciriaco and [Johnny Giavotella] and all those guys -- that the young kids that came up from Double-A did an outstanding job," Jirschele said. "[Rey] Navarro had a great playoff. Those guys stepped in and did an outstanding job. We never missed a beat."
Navarro, a third baseman, hit .409 with five RBIs in the seven PCL playoff games.
"We got hot at the right time. You've got to have some luck," Jirschele said. "Considering we had to win the last two games of the regular season and Memphis had to lose two, to almost not getting in, to winning everything -- yeah, it's very satisfying."
The Royals are counting on Jirschele having that horseshoe in his back pocket.
"You can be good but you've got to be lucky, too," Jirschele said. "Salt Lake City, the night we clinched, we hit two balls off the pitcher's foot and both of 'em rolled away from guys. Where when things are going bad, that ball goes right to somebody and they get a double play or get the third out of an inning."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.