For the second straight season, Kauffman Stadium hosts the ALCS as the Blue Jays and the Royals collide on Friday night. It's a wonderful matchup between the league's top two teams, but let's not forget how unlikely this series seemed just over a year ago.
Entering last season, the Royals and Blue Jays possessed the two longest playoff droughts in North American professional sports. Now, they meet after narrowly surviving tests in the ALDS, ready to do battle in Kansas City. Edinson Volquez and Marco Estrada will be handed the ball for their respective teams, looking to get their squads off to a 1-0 series lead.
Estrada pitched twice against the Royals this season, compiling a 1-1 record. He lost his start at Kauffman Stadium, surrendering nine hits and two runs over 6.2 innings. He was out-dueled by Danny Duffy in an eventual 3-0 Kansas City win. Three weeks later, he won a rematch of the same pitching matchup in Toronto, three-hitting the Royals over 5.2 frames.
Kansas City has yet to change its lineup through six playoff games. Here's what both teams are going with:
ALCS Game 1 lineups and umpires pic.twitter.com/UolDskZ5Vb— Blair Kerkhoff (@BlairKerkhoff) October 16, 2015
The Royals have lost two straight playoff series openers, both of which took place at home. Is tonight the day they snap that trend and deal an immediate blow to the Blue Jays' World Series chances?