Astros vs Royals: A Playoff Preview? Probably (Aug. 24-26)

The Kansas City Royals met the Houston Astros this past weekend in what is likely a series we will see in October. Why do we say that? After all, the Los Angeles Angels lead the American League West and with Mike Trout as hot as any player in baseball, the Astros will likely be in the Wild Card playoff.

This is true. But with either Dallas Keuchel or the newly acquired Scott Kazmir to pitch that game against the Twins, we like them to win it. This would put them against the number one seed, the Royals.

Graphic via riveraveblues

If that is indeed the case, the Astros should not be counted out in the series. Kazmir shut the Royals down in his first start with his new team. He went seven innings allowing no runs in the Astros 4-0 win. Preston Tucker homered and then later scored a run to pace the Astros hitting attack on Friday.

On Saturday the Royals struck back to snap a four game losing streak against the Astros. They won 2-1 in 10 innings when Alcides Escobar singled in the game winner. Scott Feldman went into the eighth inning allowing only one run for the Astros but was matched by Danny Duffy who went six innings allowing only a single run.

That is two more games that Astros starting pitching has stymied Royals hitting. The Astros had to feel good about winning the series with Keuchel going on Sunday against Yordano Ventura.

Graphic via kingsofkauffman

However, the Royals showed why they are the best team in the American League until someone knocks them off. They rocked the American League All-Star Game starter for four runs in the first inning. Omar Infante opened the scoring with a two run single and later scored on a double by Chester Cuthbert.

Ventura, who went into the game at only 4-7, went seven strong innings allowing only six hits and one run.

This is a series in which the Astros have to leave feeling like it could easily have been a three-game sweep for them. But the Royals leave the series feeling good about winning two out of three games against a team they will likely see in the playoffs.

The fans have to feel good about the prospects of these two clubs getting together in the postseason. That should be some really good baseball.

But the biggest news to come from this weekend for these two teams is they both added a very good arm to the starting rotation. We already saw what Kazmir brings to Houston. But in what could be an even bigger addition, the Royals added Johnny Cueto, the ace of the Cincinnati Reds staff the past few seasons. When he is on his game, Cueto is as good as there is in baseball.

If he pitches like the Royals expect him to, they will be very tough to beat. It looks as if the World Series might be played entirely in the state of Missouri.

Graphic via kansascity

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