Toronto (0-0) at Kansas City (0-0)
When: Friday, October 16th, 2015
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Time: 8:05 ET
TV: FOX Radio: XM 183, 89, 80
The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals meet in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series in what could have easily been the Rangers playing the Astros. The Royals were 6 outs away from being eliminated before an 8th inning rally in Game 4 in Houston. Then they got into an early 2-0 hole in Game 5 before rallying and pulling away for a 7-2 series clinching win. The Royals experience showed up when it needed to with key hits late in games. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales homered three times in the ALDS and had five hits total. Salvador Perez contributed with 2 home runs and Ben Zobrist was the only Royal to hit over .300. Mike Moustakas needs a better showing in the ALCS as he went a miserable 2-for-18, but only struck out twice. Kansas City will start with Edison Volquez in Game 1 and he has not been good in the postseason. Volquez allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks over 5 2/3 innings and lost Game 3 of the ALDS to the Astros on Sunday. He is now 0-3 with an 8.76 ERA in three career postseason starts and has yet to complete six innings in the playoffs. Volquez has never beaten Toronto, posting an 0-4 record with a 6.76 ERA in six career starts.
The Blue Jays rally to win their series was much more dramatic than the Royals. Toronto was down two games to zero when their major league leading offense finally kicked into gear. Troy Tulowitzki, who only hit .095 in the series hit a key three-run homerun in Game 3 to get things turned around. Then the Blue Jays topped it off with the bat flip heard round the world. Jose Bautista’s 3-run seventh inning bomb put the Jays up for good and eliminated the Rangers in five games. Toronto hit 8 homeruns in the series, but five of them came in the final two games. Marco Estrada, who picked up right where he left off after a strong regular season, will get the Game 1 start. He held Texas to one run on 5 hits over 6 1/3 innings to earn a win in Game 3 of the ALDS. Estrada allowed three or fewer earned runs in 13 of his last 14 starts and did not walk a batter in either of his last two outings. He lost his only start against the Royals this season, surrendering two runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings at Kansas City on July 10th.
This should be a fun series that could go all 7 games. The Royals edged out Toronto by 1 game in the regular season to get home-field advantage. The Blue Jays are coming in with a little more momentum and they’re going up against a pitcher who is struggling. I think Toronto takes care of business in Game 1.
Pick: Blue Jays -121