By: Joe Botana
The Royals vs. Astros series moves to Houston this weekend, a venue better suited for the Astros free swinging style than Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City is 0-3 at Minute Maid Park this season, and Astros ace Dallas Keuchel (20-8 regular season, 1-0 in playoffs) is set to pitch game three on regular rest. He will be opposed by the Royals’ Edinson Volquez (13-9) as the Royals try to win in Houston for the first time in 2015.
Kansas City dodged a bullet in game two. After falling behind early, they came back to win by a score of 5-3. Clutch hits and a shutdown bullpen were enough to put away the Astros in game two. The Royals are fortunate, and doubtless very glad, to not find themselves down 0-2 in the series.
Meanwhile, the Astros must recover from having let a winnable game get away, which would have given them an almost insurmountable series lead. Still, they will take solace from the fact that their ace, Dallas Keuchel, fresh from a dominating performance at Yankee Stadium in the Wild Card game, is on the mound today. Also, they know that they have the AL’s best home record in the regular season (53-28) and that they were 3-0 at Minute Maid Park in the regular season against the Royals.
Game three is pivotal for both teams, since today’s winner will have a major leg up on winning the overall series. The Astros are back in their home park, where they have been dominant all season, and have their best pitcher on the mound. They also have the confidence of having beaten the Yankees and split with the Royals at Kansas City. The Royals will rely on the return of their game winning style in game two and their superior playoff experience. They will also remember the fact that on July 26th they got one of their two wins against the Astros in 2015 by a score of 5-1. The Astros’ losing pitcher that day was today’s starter, Dallas Keuchel.