The Kansas City Royals head north of the border with a 2 - 0 lead in the American League Championship Series, trudging in from the Canadian snow to the Rogers Centre--née Sky Dome--to face the Toronto Blue Jays. In year
fourteen six of the Alex Anthopolous Greco-Québécois Baseball Experience, the Jays and their faithful finally get to experience the bright lights of the postseason for the first time since their back-to-back World Series wins in 1992 and 1993, the last two points in time in which the titular championship's name was even remotely apropos.
This year's version of last year's Royals, having possessed the longest active streak of postseason-less baseball before earning entrance this season, the Jays have played to their park's homer-friendly, grounder-murdering tendencies with aplomb, living and dying with long, long balls. This formula has enabled the high-flying Jays to score the most runs of any team since the 2009 Yankees.
These dong-hanging fiends from the Great White North will square off against Royals' starting pitcher, Johnny Cueto.
While he has endured more than his share of ups and downs since his mid-season acquisition from the Reds, Cueto completely dominated the Houston Astros in his Game Five start of the AL Divisional Series, leading many to wonder if the post-Communist rust had finally been stripped from his Soviet cogs and gears. Whether it was just the raised stakes of the space race supremacy implicit in the matchup between the former Red ace and the champions of NASA or rising to the occasion with the world's eyes turned upon him, Cueto was the brilliant starter that Dayton Moore envisioned when selling his soul to the Godless Communist devil in the form of three live arms.
The Blue Jays will send their Lazarus to the mound, Marcus Stroman, who was supposed to be out for the year with a torn ACL suffered late in Spring Training but instead finds himself making his seventh major-league start since returning from the disabled list. Stroman's repertoire is a dazzling one, just ask Jeff Sullivan (h/t to newb, RyanMcGlaughlin). A more in-depth preview with his post-injury tendencies can be found right here. Long story short? He is a really good ground-ball pitcher with a filthy and diverse arsenal of pitches.
These will be tonight's Royals, not that this alignment looks any different from the ones Ned Yost has thrown out there this entire offseason:
The Blue Jays will similarly field a lineup unchanged from Games One and Two (well, Game One had Dioner Navarro in Russell Martin's stead because Marco Estrada's a weirdo). It looks like this:
For those worried, the Jays will not get to use bihandual reliever Pat Venditte in this series, who they just claimed today since it is the offseason:
ROSTER MOVE: The @BlueJays have claimed LHP/RHP Pat Venditte off waivers from Oakland. INF Darwin Barney has been designated for assignment.— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 19, 2015
Per Andy McCullough, Terrance Gore may make it to the game in time, but as of right now appears to be in transit:
Terrance Gore had some passport issues getting to Toronto. He flew to Atlanta yesterday to retrieve it. Expected to be here today.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) October 19, 2015
Let us hope that all that time on aeroplanes doesn't lead to a nasty case of deep-vein thrombosis. Stretch diligently, little buddy.
For anyone wondering, this game will, in fact, be a WAR!
One for the rummy:
Two for Joe Blow:
Three to get nasty:
And geaux Royals.