After two wild divisional round matchups, we’ve reached the ALCS. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals will battle it out to determine who will represent the American League in the World Series.
Toronto: The Blue Birds haven’t won a championship since they capped off back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993. Fans probably had flashbacks to Joe Carter’s walk-off homer in ‘93 when they saw Bautista launch one into orbit on Wednesday night, and they’re going to need more magic from the hitters in their stacked lineup if they’re going to advance past the Kansas City Royals in this series.
The bats seemed to have cooled off in the first two games of the series with the Texas Rangers. Down 2-0 going to Arlington, the Blue Jays finally woke up and started swinging, hitting six home runs in the final three games, compared to just two in the first two games, powering them to an ALDS victory. David Price looked shaky in his two appearances against the Rangers, giving up a combined 8 ER in one start and a relief appearance. If he doesn’t start pitching like he did during the second half of the regular season, Kansas City could steal two games that Toronto should have locked up.
Kansas City: They’re back at it. After last year’s magical run to the World Series, the Royals seek to win back-to-back American League pennants. After acquiring Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds at the deadline, it looked as if he would be the ace that would win them their first World Series championship since 1985. But Cueto didn’t look great in his first outing against the Astros in Game 2 of the series, where he gave up four ER on just four hits.
Thankfully for the Royals, he had a strong start in game 5 of the ALDS, and only gave up two ER off of two hits, and at one point retired 19 consecutive Astros’ batters. They’re going to rely on him to go deep into the games against Toronto’s offense. After batting .333 against Houston, Ben Zobrist, also acquired at the trade deadline, will lead the hitting. As far as power goes, Kendrys Morales and Salvador Perez will bring theirs with them to go head-to-head with the Toronto offense. They hit a combined five homers in the ALDS. If they can get men on base and create steals, this series will go in their favor.
Prediction: Despite Price’s shaky start to the post-season, he’s still the man when it comes to big games. Remember when he closed out the ALCS for Tampa in 2008? Add the anger that Toronto is playing with after the 7th inning of game five, and the Royals season is going to come to an abrupt end. The Blue Jays are going to overpower the Royals. Toronto 4-2.