In a game that paled in comparison to last year’s Wild Card classic (obviously), The Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees 3-0 on Tuesday night, meaning the victors will meet the Kansas City Royals on Thursday in the ALDS.
I mean, not GOOD, really, but pick your poison. The Astros are good. The Yankees were good. Both were 4-2 against KC in the regular season. New York has a potent (well, until past month or two), old offense. Houston has a potent, young offense. Neither would have been (nor will be) a cake-walk.
You know who would have been a really great ALDS opponent for the Royals? The Philadelphia Phillies. Because the Phillies are outrageously terrible. And I don’t care that they’re not in the American League. That’s not the point. The point is—for all of the hand-wringing and half-assed analysis I’ve read over the last few days—it doesn’t MATTER who their opponent is. 1) The playoffs are a crap-shoot (unlike the regular season, which is a poop chute?) and 2) The other teams in the playoffs are good, which is why they’re in the playoffs in the first place.
So the Astros are the Royals’ poison, and they’re good, but here’s why I’m holding out hope that Kansas City will emerge victorious.
The Astros are Lousy on the Road
A lot was made about Kansas City securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and why not: home field advantage, like a hot slice of pizza on a cold Christmas morn, is nice. We also know, however, that the team with home field only advances 54% of the time, so who seriously gives a shit. BUT: The Houston Astros are a much, much worse team on the road (33-48 versus 53-28 at home), so obviously, you’d want to play them more in Kansas City than in Houston. Science.
Dallas Keuchel is Good as Hell, but Won’t Pitch Again Until Game Three
Because he started the WC game against the Yankees—and was amazing, and on three day’s rest no less—Astros’ ace Dallas Keuchel won’t be back until Sunday. By Sunday, KC could already be up 2-0 (hey, who knows?! It’s possible!) and obviously, you’d rather be up 2-0 heading into a game against one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, because, duh.
This Royals Team isn’t the Royals Team That Went 2-4 Against the Astros in the Regular Season
On June 29th in Houston, Kansas City lost 6-1. Five of the six runs were given up by Jovial Joe Blanton. The sixth was surrendered by Brandon Finnegan. Neither is currently with the team. The next day, the Royals lost 4-0. All four runs were given up by Dangerous Danny Duffy, who is no longer in the rotation. Then, KC lost 6-5, with Edinson Volquez giving up five of those six runs, and, well… shit. Okay, but hold on.
Anyway, the next month, back in KC, Jeremy Guthrie gave up all four runs in a 4-0 loss. He is no longer in the rotation. (And probably won’t be on the postseason roster.) Kansas City won the second game of the series 2-1, and then in game three, Yordano Ventura gave up one run in seven innings and KC hung five on Keuchel for the victory. BOOM.
So really, I’m comfortable with the pitching. (It’s the extremely streaky offense I’m worried about, but hey, they’ve been streaking in the right direction lately.)
Look, it won’t be easy. It never is. Oh, except last year when KC swept their way through the first two rounds. That was easy.
But in the end, I think the Royals got this, you guys. I think they take the series 3-1, then square off against, ugh, probably the fucking Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS.