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Pedro Martinez, Gary Sheffield predicted Royals' playoff success

In this April 4, 2010 file photo, former

In this April 4, 2010 file photo, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez greets the crowd before throwing the ceremonial first pitch. Photo Credit: AP

Way back on Sept. 29 -- eight Royals playoff victories ago -- Newsday asked Turner analysts Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield on a conference call to assess the underdog's postseason prospects.

Both answered wisely, as it has turned out.

Martinez: "I think Kansas City has as good of a chance as anybody ... believe it or not, it's all about momentum, and Kansas City has that right now. If I was Kansas City, I would try to maintain my focus, keep the momentum going and use the energy that those young guys have.

"That's what they bring to the table -- a lot of energy, nothing to lose and a lot to gain by being there. This is a team you go out there relaxed against, thinking these kids are not going to be a big deal and then, before you know it, they've got you in the hole."

Sheffield: "When you look at the Kansas City Royals, you have to give props to the organization, the way they've built this team. They started with everyday players, moved parts and took their prospects and moved them for veteran players.

"When they brought over [pitcher] James Shields, a move that wasn't popular [at the time] ... when they gave up an everyday player for a pitcher, people thought they needed young players. When you see these guys developing and you have a veteran pitcher on the mound, keeping you in ballgames and helping to lead that staff, the guys come behind him and try to go out and do what he does every day. That breathes confidence into young players.

"One thing that makes Kansas City so dangerous is they have a bunch of young players that are riding a high right now. Their confidence level is going to go sky high. They're not thinking about the pressure of the playoffs; they're just thinking about being relevant in Major League Baseball. Now they are a relevant team. When they get into postseason play, they are just going to play free."


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