Twenty-two of 25 teams to take a 2-0 lead in the LCS since it went to a best-of-seven format have won the series. The Blue Jays need to start fighting history tonight.
The Game: Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The Time: 8:07 PM Eastern.
The Place: Rogers Centre, Toronto
The Channel: FoxSports 1
The Starters: Johnny Cueto vs. Marcus Stroman
The Upshot: The Jays were down 2-0 in a best of five series against the Rangers and then were forced to go play on the road. They made that work for them and came out on top, so why can’t they come back from 2-0 in a best of seven with three straight games at home?
Being inside the dome will, they hope anyway, wake their bats up as the Royals held them homerless at Kauffman in games one and two. Their mission: to get to Johnny Cueto who, late season struggles aside, gave up only two runs in eight innings against Houston in Game 5 of the Division Series. If he’s truly back on his game it’ll be tough for Toronto. Cueto has faced players in the current Jays lineup 88 times. He’s given up two homers to them: one to Troy Tulowitzki and one to Edwin Encarnacion.
Going for the Jays will be Marcus Stroman, who gave up two runs in six innings in the ALDS-clinching Game 5. Stroman is a groundball pitcher and that’s usually good for the Jays in Rogers Centre. These Royals, however, are the balls-in-play gods. As we saw then they stunned the Astros in Game 4 of the ALDS and came back against David Price in Game 2, they don’t need to hit for power to shock and to awe. They just string together hits and run the bases like crazy. You look up and, bam, you just surrendered four. Stroman needs to sit some guys down with some strikeouts, not put anyone on and hope for the best.
No matter what happens, as today dawns I am frightened by the notion that we’re going to get two 4-0 sweeps in the LCS, this will all be over by Wednesday night and then we’ll be forced to go five days without a baseball game. I have no rooting interests whatsoever in these final four teams, but really, Toronto or Chicago: make it a series, will ya?