By Max Wildstein 10/16/15
The Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals will start a best-of-seven American League Championship Series on Friday in Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium. Both teams won their respective American League Division Series in decisive Game 5’s on Wednesday. In a seven-game season series this year, the Blue Jays edged out the Royals, 4-3.
To start things off Friday night, the Blue Jays will send Marco Estrada to the mound to face off against Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez. Estrada pitched during the ALDS against the Texas Rangers, holding them to one run on five hits, while striking out four batters, over 6.1 innings pitched, as he gathered a huge Game 3 win in Texas. He will be followed by ace left-hander David Price, along with Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey.
Opposing the Blue Jays on the mound on Friday night will be Edinson Volquez. Volquez picked up a Game 3 loss, as he allowed three runs on five hits, while striking out eight and walking four, over 5.2 innings pitched. He will be followed by Yordano Ventura and Johnny Cueto, both of whom have already made two starts this postseason. Something that the Royals will have in to their advantage is that the right-handed heavy hitting Blue Jays won’t be facing any left-handed starters this series, as Toronto have toasted left-handed pitching all season.
Jose Bautista fared the best among Blue Jays hitters against the Royals this season, as he collected a .321/.333/.643 slash line over 30 plate appearances, along with two home runs (one off Wade Davis, one off Yordano Ventura) and five runs batted in. In 23 plate appearances this postseason, Bautista has hit .273/.304/.636, along with two home runs (one being the go-ahead three-run bomb on Wednesday night) and five runs batted in. Josh Donaldson, who has arguably been the best player for Toronto this season, hitting .261/.370/.652 over 27 plate appearances against Kansas City, along with two home runs (one off Danny Duffy, one off Yordano Ventura) and nine runs batted in. This postseason, Donaldson has slashed .222/.333/.611 over 21 plate appearances, along with two home runs and four runs batted in.
Lorenzo Cain, who will likely factor into AL MVP voting at the season’s end, enjoyed a wonderful season against Blue Jays pitching, hitting .375/.423/.500 over 26 plate appearances, along with no home runs and one run batted in. Cain has fared alright this postseason, hitting .250/.318/.450 over 22 plate appearances, along with one home run and two runs batted in. Eric Hosmer hit even better against Toronto, posting a .393/.414/.429 slash line over 29 plate appearances, along with no home runs and five runs batted in. Hosmer has struggled so far this postseason, hitting .190/.190/.333 over 21 plate appearances, along with one home run and five runs batted in.
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