ALCS Preview: Blue Jays vs. Royals

The Toronto Blue Jays face the defending AL champs, the Kansas City Royals for the AL pennant. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
The Toronto Blue Jays face the defending AL champs, the Kansas City Royals for the AL pennant. Should be a great series. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison

By Stephen Elliott

The defending American League Champions Kansas City Royals host the Toronto Blue Jays for the ALCS. These teams are number one and two, respectively, in the league. Both the Royals and Blue Jays had tough first series with high tension and drama, expect more of the same in this series.

Both teams had hairy division series as the Blue Jays were down two games before winning three straight and the Royals were six outs away from elimination before Kansas City rallied off five runs in the eighth to win Game 4 against Houston.

These teams had a recent feud. Benches cleared in an early August game as Toronto pitcher Aaron Sanchez plunked Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain in the knee. That proceeded to twitter spats and flamboyant postgame interviews. Don’t expect any retaliation from either team, but each run will be huge making the series more entertaining. 

Toronto Blue Jays
This team does everything well. Want hitting? Toronto is ranked number one in runs, home runs, runs batted in and slugging percent. With an above-average pitching rotation, Toronto can power their way to win games. The seventh inning against the Rangers was an example of a good team taking full advantage of the other teams mistakes by pouring on runs. This team still looks like the best hitting team in baseball.

Still, David Price doesn’t look like the same pitcher in the postseason. He still hasn’t posted a win in a game that he starts and had a 7.20 earned run average against the Rangers. His struggles in the postseason are evident and the Blue Jays announced Marco Estrada to pitch Game 1 over Price.

Kansas City Royals
I can’t believe this team is here. They were six outs away from elimination and, like last year’s wild card game against the A’s, had a historic eighth inning in Game 4 to advance to the ALCS.

The absence of their closer Greg Holland isn’t denting the success of the bullpen. If Kansas City gets a lead in going into the seventh inning, some combination of Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson and Wade Davis with fastballs touching 97-100 MPH is thrown at opposing hitters.

There hitting isn’t nearly as powerful as the Toronto Blue Jays. Their bats struggled against Houston and often times looked off balance against the starting pitchers. Their middle of the batting order featuring, Gordon, Cain, Hosmer and Moustakas are hitting a combined .197 with only nine runs batted in.

Prediction: Blue Jays win in seven. 
Toronto’s superior hitting will overpower the Royals, but it will be close. The perfect counter for a good hitting team like Toronto is a solid bullpen. The problem is Toronto will get to the starters early rendering the Royals bullpen useless in some games. I don’t have much confidence in each team. Toronto hasn’t played up to their regular season standard and the Royals have some holes in their starting pitching and batting lineup. I look at whoever is the AL champs to be discarded by either the Cubs or Mets in the World Series.

ALCS Schedule
* If necessary

Game 1: Blue Jays at Royals, Oct. 16, 7:07 pm on FOX
Game 2: Blue Jays at Royals, Oct. 17, 3:07 pm on FS1
Game 3: Royals at Blue Jays, Oct. 19, 7:07 pm on FS1
Game 4: Royals at Blue Jays, Oct. 20, TBD on FOX or FS1
*Game 5: Royals at Blue Jays, Oct. 21, TBD on FOX or FS1
*Game 6: Blue Jays at Royals, Oct. 23, TBD on FOX or FS1
*Game 7: Blue Jays at Royals, Oct. 24, TBD on FOX or FS1