Series Preview: Kansas City Royals (69-64, 3rd AL Central) @ Toronto Blue Jays (60-74, 5th AL East)
Aug 25, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle (56) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the third inning of a baseball game at the Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Man if the Blue Jays could have been playing the Yankees this tough earlier in the season we may not be in such a laughable state and the Yankees would most likely not be within spitting distance of the second wild card. Even after taking 2 of 3 from the Bronx Bombers we still are only 3-13 against them this year. A .500 record against them would have left us at least chasing the dream of .500 baseball overall…still under .500 but not so far under.
The Royals are needing quite the streak to get back in contention for the wild card. They are 6 games back and have to leapfrog the Yankees, Indians and Orioles to get to that position. Something that won’t be easy that’s for sure. They have had the pitching so desperately lacking last year and do have the ability to make that move. If the bats can pick it up a little bit then they have a fighting chance. If the Jays can take them down in this series they will deal a very heavy blow to the Royals chances of making the playoffs for the first time since 1985(!). We all remember THAT postseason right old time Jays fans?
Game 1: Ervin Santana (8-7, 3.21 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (10-7, 4.08 ERA)
Game 2: Jeremy Guthrie (13-10, 4.19 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (10-12, 4.39 ERA)
Game 3: James Shields (9-8, 3.14 ERA) vs J.A. Happ (3-4, 5.46 ERA)
Santana is pitching like he did in his heyday with the Angels. He has been remarkably consistent having given up more than 4 earned runs twice in his last 10 starts. He still gives up a good number of home runs but it seems most are of the solo variety so they are less damaging. His K:BB is 137:40 which is a good sign. Previous seasons when he was still a bit of a wild man it hindered him immensely. Maybe it’s the Kansas City air but Santana has turned into a pretty good number 3. Opposing him will be our starting savior, Mark Buehrle. Since May 11 he has pitched to a 3.16 ERA. He picked up his tenth win last time out and has now reached 10+ wins for the 13th season in a row…consistency is a lovely thing.
After a horrid campaign in 2012, Guthrie has been a decent number 4 for the Royals. His 13 wins leads the team and is the most my a Royals starter since 2009 (Zack Grienke). He is a to contact pitcher, hence his strikeouts being only around 93. He is also a starter who gives up a lot of home runs (25 and counting) but keeps his team in ballgames. Sounds like what we expected from Dickey by this point. Again, a pitcher with a penchant for giving up home runs but the difference is Dickey always seems to give them up at the worst possible time. Here’s hoping his knuckler is dancing and we edge out the Royals in this one.
In the finale, we see the ace of the Royals staff James Shields. He has done what he was meant to do when they gave uber prospect Wil Myers. He has given up 3 or fewer runs in 9 of his last 10 starts. He is a veteran who knows what it takes to win and he has been great for the Royals. Happ? Well I thought he started out great after his return but holy walks Batman! This one is gong to be tough to get and I see a Royals win going down with this game.
Probable Starting Lineups
Kansas City Royals
1. LF: Alex Gordon
2. 2B: Emilio Bonifacio
3. 1B: Eric Hosmer
4. DH: Billy Butler
5. C: Salvador Perez
6. 3B: Mike Moustakas
7. RF: Justin Maxwell
8. SS: Alcides Escobar
9. CF: Jarrod Dyson
Toronto Blue Jays
1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. CF: Rajai Davis
3. DH: Edwin Encarnacion
4. 3B: Brett Lawrie
5. 1B: Mark DeRosa
6. C: J.P. Arencibia
7. RF: Moises Sierra
8. 2B: Ryan Goins
9. LF: Kevin Pillar
Worth Admission: We have a second baseman!!!…ummm….maybe!!! It is too early to anoint Ryan Goins as our second baseman of the future but if he keeps playing like this he may solve the black hole that has surrounded that spot in the line up for most of the year. For now, let’s enjoy the .455 man and give him some props. Another prospect to watch going forward.
Worth a Rotten Tomato: J.P…..I told you he was going to stay here till someone sucked more. I am still waiting for that more suckage…
Spoiler can be fun. If we can knock the Royals out of playoff contention it will make up for them kicking our butts in the ALCS 28 years ago. So yeah. Go with that. Enjoy the Jays as they are constructed now because it won’t be looking like this next year. Play with some heart and gumption and I can take spoilers. If we just play dead and ragged here on in then we are just doing ourselves a disservice for next year and beyond. Can you start a winning culture in September. Yes. Will we? Tough to say…