A couple of years ago this series would have garnered no attention. The Astros and Royals were not only two bottom dwellers that year, but had been since most of us could remember. 100 loss seasons were nothing new with these two franchises. Good seats were readily available when they met.
That is no longer the case. Both of these teams are good. They are both young and are both entertaining. The Astros have led the American League West for much of the season and are still very much in contention for the West division, trailing the Los Angeles Angels by 2.0 games going into Thursday’s game. They are leading the American League Wild Card standings by 2.0 games over the Minnesota Twins and 3.0 games over the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers. So while they have been in a bit of a slump of late, they are still in good shape.
The Royals are the defending American League Champions, losing the World Series in Game Seven with the tying run at third base, having been held there on a play he may have been able to score. They are dying to get another shot at a championship.
This season, they have been great all year. They have been in first place nearly every day of the season and they currently have a 7.5 game lead over the Twins in the American League Central Division. Since the American League won the All-Star Game again, the Royals would be the team that would not have to worry about going on the road to win a deciding game in the playoffs. They have a 4.0 game lead on the Angels to be the team with home field throughout the post-season.
The one bump in the road they hit lately was when they met the Astros. Houston swept a three game series from the Royals 6-1, 4-0 and 6-5. Immediately following that series, the Astros hit a rough stretch where they lost two of three to the Red Sox, three of four to the Indians and three straight to the Rays going into the All-Star Break. But since the Break they beat the Rangers two out of three, and are looking for a three game sweep on Thursday over the Red Sox.
The Royals series also precedes a big four game series with the Angels that could be for the division lead.
Om Friday, the Astros will send Scott Feldman to face Jeremy Guthrie. Neither of these two invokes a lot of fear in the hearts of the opposition. Feldman is 4-5 with a 4.93 ERA and Guthrie is 7-5 with a 5.36. Look for a lot of offense in this one.
Graphic via mormonbaseball
We will go with the Royals on Friday since they will come in looking for some payback.
On Saturday, the Astros will throw Dallas Keuchel against the Royals’ Danny Duffy. Duffy is 4-4 with a 4.24 ERA and he will be going against the American League All-Star game starter in Keuchel who is 12-4 with a 2.12 ERA.
We will take the ‘Stros in Saturday’s game.
Sunday’s game will likely be the rubber game of the series. The Astros will send 1-1 Vince Velasquez to the mound to face the Royals Yordano Ventura who is 4-7 with a 5.19 ERA. Look for the offenses to put a lot of runs up in this one too.
We will take the Royals on Sunday just because they are at home and will get the last at bat. So we like Kansas City to take two out of three this weekend.
Graphic via kansascity