Edinson Volquez will take the mound for Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night after the death of his father on the afternoon of his Game 1 start last Tuesday.
And because of the Royals' 5-3 comeback victory in Game 4, Volquez -- who returned from his native Dominican Republic just before Saturday night's game -- will have a chance to clinch the title for his team.
"Excited," Volquez said late Saturday night. "We have a chance to win the whole thing."
Volquez allowed three runs, six hits and one walk in six innings in the Royals' 5-4, 14-inning victory Tuesday night and immediately left Kauffman Stadium afterward to be with his family in the Dominican. The pitcher's father, Daniel, who had been battling heart disease, was 63.
"He was everything to me," Volquez said. "I remember he bought me my first glove and my first spikes. He knew that's what I wanted to be, I want to be a baseball player. He gave me a lot of support and he [bought] everything for me."
Volquez, who played catch in the Dominican Republic, said there was never a doubt in his mind that he was going to pitch in Game 5.
"I told them I was going to be ready to play if they need me," Volquez said. "Ned [Yost] said, 'Hey, are you able to pitch?' I said, 'Yeah, that's why I'm here. I want to pitch. I want to make people proud.' "
Yost said before Saturday night's game that only pitching coach Dave Eiland had been in contact with Volquez, 13-9 with a 3.55 ERA in 33 starts this season, since he left for the Dominican, but he figured he wanted to pitch.
"These are huge games. Edi's been with this team all year long," Yost said. "He's worked so hard to get to this point. And it was like Chris Young when his dad passed away. Chris just knew how proud his dad was of him and that his dad would want him to carry on. His dad would want him to be on that mound and helping his team win. And I imagine that Edi's dad would want the same thing for Edi."
Young, who won Game 1 in relief and started Game 4 Saturday night, lost his father Sept. 26. He started a day later, throwing five no-hit innings in a victory over the Indians.
During Game 1, and even after it, it was unclear whether Volquez knew about his father's death before making that start.
A report by ESPNDeportes quoted a family member that afternoon saying Volquez found out on the way to the ballpark. The Royals, after initially saying they weren't sure, came out strongly after the game saying Volquez did not know, a version the pitcher backed up Saturday night.
After much internal discussion, Fox -- at the request of Volquez's family -- withheld the information from its audience during Tuesday night's game until after he was done pitching, fearing that he would find out from a clubhouse TV. Fox's Joe Buck said that if the network had decided to report on the situation early in Game 1, "Then we stink. We have absolutely no discretion.''
That aspect of the story remains murky, even though Volquez said Saturday night: "I don't think I [would] be able to pitch that day if I found out before the game."
But catcher Salvador Perez and shortstop Alcides Escobar recalled speaking to him about his father's death before he took the mound for Game 1.
"That's really hard when you heard that news," Escobar told ESPN on Wednesday. "He knew before he pitched. He said I'm going to go now and pitch."
Regardless, Volquez is sure to have plenty on his mind besides baseball Sunday night.
"For me, I wish he could be here right now and enjoy every game I pitch," he said. "And tomorrow I'm going to be thinking of my mom and the rest of my family is going to be so happy to see me pitch."