Series preview: Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros
With the Astros beating the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game last night, it means they get the privilege of facing the AL - best Royals in the Division Series. Let's preview it.
Kansas City Royals
Season record: 95-67
Home record: 51-30
Away record: 44-37
Key players: Yordano Ventura (SP), Lorenzo Cain (CF), Eric Hosmer (1B), Kendrys Morales (2B)
Key injuries: None
Projected starters: Ventura, Johnny Cueto, Edison Volquez, Ventura, Cueto
Here's what you need to know:
After making the World Series last season, the Royals are back with a vengeance. They had the American League's best record pretty much from day 1. This is a deep, spirited team with a fan base that is absolutely bonkers, and home field advantage will help them a lot. They can hit, and they can pitch. Midseason acquisition Johnny Cueto hasn't been what they sought out for but he can still pitch when he's on his game. The Royals are a team to watch out for.
Season record: 86-76
Home record: 53-28
Away record: 33-48
Key players: Dallas Keuchel (SP), Carlos Correa (SS), Jose Altuve (2B), Carlos Gomez (CF)
After a huge win over the Yankees to get them into this series with the Royals, the Astros are riding high. They have the Cy Young favorite in Dallas Keuchel, but he's going to be pitching on short rest all series having just pitched last night against the Yanks. The Astros can hit - they hit a ton of homers - and they play great defense, especially up the middle with young studs Correa and Altuve making up one of the best middle infields in the league. The Astros may have just expended a lot of energy beating the Yankees, but they cannot be counted out.
I'm saying the Royals will take it in 4 games. Not having Keuchel pitch game 1 will be a big blow for Houston. The Royals have a better lineup up and down the roster and are flat out a better team. Kansas City is built for a deep playoff run and I don't see Houston getting in the way of that.