The top two seeds in the American League end up meeting in the ALCS. A few days ago this would have seemed unlikely as both teams were down in their series. Both the Royals and Blue Jays won the final two games of their series to move on. Who will come out on top in this series?
Kansas City Royals (95-67)
Game 1: Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA)
Game 2: Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08 ERA)
Game 3: Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA)
Toronto Blue Jays (93-69)
Game 1: Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13 ERA)
Game 2: David Price (18-5, 2.45 ERA)
Game 3: Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67 ERA)
Game 4: R.A. Dickey (11-11, 3.91 ERA)
It all worked out in the end. The American League’s two best teams will face each other in the ALCS. The Royals looked dead when they were down 6-2 late in game 4 against the Astros but they regained some of last year’s magic and came back to win that game in Houston. Then they crushed the Astros in game 5 to win the series and the Royals looked like the team they had been all year, once again.
The most encouraging take away from their game five victory was that Johnny Cueto looked like a good pitcher again. The starting pitching still doesn’t look too intimidating and they’ll need him to step up against the Blue Jays devastating offense. They have yet to make a decision on a game four starter yet. I don’t think anyone wants to see Chris Young start a meaningful playoff game.
The Blue Jays looked like they would be the biggest disappointment of the 2015 playoffs. They had the most favorable matchup of any team but started their first series losing two at home. Somehow they pulled it off and won the series but that was too close. Part of the problem was David Price who’s playoff struggles have continued. They ended up skipping his spot and went with Marcus Stroman in game five. Like Cueto, the Jays need Price to pitch to his talent level. He’s still the best guy they have.
The offense really turned it on in their three wins. They scored 19 runs and hit six home runs in those final three games. That’s the kind of offense we expect from Toronto and I believe they will keep hitting against the Royals average pitching.