Oct 14, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Johnny Cueto throws a pitch against the Houston Astros in game five of the ALDS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The Blue Jays are once again staring down the barrel of a heavily loaded gun as the Kansas City Royals jumped out to an early 2 games to none lead in the ALCS. The Royals have put on a show thus far in the series and have been the better team in all points of the game. They have outhit, fielded, and pitched the Jays thus far and things need to change or else the Jays will be watching the fall classic from their homes. Ahead, we break down the key factors that should lead to a Blue Jays game 3 win.
Get to Cueto early!
Johnny Cueto has had an up and down season this year. He started the season with the Cincinnati Reds and was putting together an incredible campaign. He had logged a 2.62 ERA in 130.2 innings and was holding opposing hitters to a .196 batting average. Since coming to the Royals, Cueto has struggled in comparison to his early season successes.
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He has pitched 81.1 innings with a 4.76 ERA and has a .307 batting average against him. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that he does not know American league hitters as well, but he has Salvador Perez as a resource. Perez is arguably one of the best catchers in all of baseball and many have raved over his abilities as a game caller. The combination of a solid pitcher and Perez should be enough to keep KC in any game.
Cueto’s struggles have not been isolated to the regular season though. He has pitched in 2 games so far this post season and has had a solid outing and an ugly one. In the 2 games he has a combined 3.86 ERA and allowed 6 earned runs in 14 innings of work. For Cueto’s career he has a 4.37 ERA in 4 postseason outings. That is 22 innings of work and 11 earned runs. This is a vulnerability that the Blue Jays need to take advantage of. The offense needs to get the jump on Cueto and grab an early lead.
Next: Would the Blue Jays bats please stand up!