After a May rainout necessitated rescheduling, the Kansas City Royals play a make-up game at Wrigley Field tonight before heading to the South Side tomorrow to start a three-game series. This single game matches two playoff teams: the Cubs destined for a Wild Card match-up with either the Cardinals or, more likely, the Pirates; and the Royals duking it out with the Toronto Blue Jays for home-field advantage in the American League after clinching the American League Central.
Dodging the Jake "Perfect Through Six" Arrieta bullet with him pitching last night, the Royals draw Cubs' righty Kyle Hendricks tonight. Hendricks's 2015 campaign consists of a 4.23 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 3.39 xFIP, and 3.51 SIERA with a 3.66 K/BB and 13.0 HR/FB%. His extreme ground-ball tendencies (51.1 GB%) have allowed him to limit dong damage while playing home games at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs will field the following starting nine:
The Royals send Yordano Ventura to the mound to face a Cubs squad that seems content with its place in the Wild Card Game and will Yost the Royals, resting key players like Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber and strangely batting Tommy La Stella cleanup. Following his five lights-out starts from August 11 to September 2, Ventura has settled back in to merely being adequate over his past four starts. Bearing down on the postseason, Ventura will attempt to get into postseason form in his last two starts before the Royals hit the ALDS.
The Royals will play ball the way it was apparently meant to be with this lineup:
Gonna toss two songs out there from the way back machine.