The Astros won Tuesday’s wild card game and their reward is a matchup with last year’s AL champions, the Kansas City Royals. It should be a great series. Find out below who we’re taking.
Kansas City Royals (95-67)
Game 1: Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08 ERA)
Game 2: Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA)
Game 3: Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA)
Houston Astros (87-75)
Game 1: Collin McHugh (19-7, 3.89 ERA)
Game 2: Scott Kazmir (7-11, 3.10 ERA)
Game 3: Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2,48 ERA)
The Royals continued where they left off after last year’s crazy playoff run, finishing with the best record in the American League. Those who predicted disaster for Kansas City, including ourselves, were wrong. How did they keep winning games?
They finished in the top ten in runs scored led by All-Star Lorenzo Cain. Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer finally put together good seasons and Kendrys Morales was a nice addition. Add All-Stars Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, and Ben Zobrist, and the Royals have a really good and deep lineup.
Their pitching, especially their starting pitching, is just not as good. Yordano Ventura proved that he’s a really good instigator but didn’t get any better as a pitcher. He’s their game 1 starter. They traded for Cueto at the deadline but he’s been a disappointment. Volquez has been their closest thing to an ace and he was almost out of the league two years ago.
The bullpen was the strength of the Royals pitching last year and the bullpen was great again this year. Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis, their new closer, were excellent as was Ryan Madson who hadn’t played since 2011. The bullpen is going to need remain excellent for the Royals to get back to the World Series.
We wrote before in the wild card preview about the Astros ability to hit home runs. They ended up hitting two in their win against the Yankees. The other key to that victory was Dallas Keuchel. The bad news for Houston is that he will only be able to pitch in one game in the series. They will be forced to use less reliable pitchers like Scott Kazmir and maybe Mike Fiers or Lance McCullers.
Houston has a ton of talent and should see more postseasons in their future. We think this one will last a little longer though as they upset the Royals.