Hot bats powered the Royals to a Game 4 victory in this ALCS, and within one victory of back-to-back AL pennants. Can KC finish the job Wednesday afternoon or can Toronto stave off elimination?
ALCS Game 5 Odds
As of this writing the best MLB odds available for Wednesday's Game 5 on Toronto with Marco Estrada was the -143 offered at 5Dimes, while KC with Edinson Volquez was getting +140 at Heritage.
KC grabbed a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven ALCS with a 14-2 bombing of the Blue Jays Tuesday afternoon. The Royals have now scored 22 runs and rapped out 30 hits over the last two games of this series.
This handicapper has to be honest; this series has us baffled. We missed again with our free MLB pick on Game 4, and it didn't take long to realize, as the Royals jumped on RA Dickey for four runs in the first inning.
But to hit something we've got to keep shooting, right?
Game 5's Starting Pitchers
This pitching match-up is a rematch of Game 1 of this ALCS last Friday, a 5-0 Kansas City victory.
Estrada (13-8, 3.13) went 16-for-28 on quality starts during the regular season, finishing four for his last four. He then started Game 3 of the ALDS against Texas, with the Jays down two games to none, and allowed just one run through 6 1/3 innings of a 5-1 Toronto victory. He then started Game 1 of this ALCS against Kansas City, giving up three runs through 5 1/3 innings of that 5-0 Blue Jays loss.
On the season Toronto is 17-13 in Estrada's starts.
In three starts this season against the Royals Estrada has allowed seven runs through 17 2/3 innings; the Jays lost two of those games, with the UNDERS going 3-0.
Volquez (13-9, 3.55) went 16-for-33 on quality starts this year, but only one for his last four. He then started Game 3 of the ALDS against Houston, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks through 5 2/3 innings of a 4-2 KC defeat. But five days later he started Game 1 of this ALCS against the Jays, and threw six innings of two-hit, shutout ball in that 5-0 Royals victory.
On the season Kansas City is 23-12 in games Volquez has started.
In three starts this season against Toronto Volquez has allowed just three ER through 17 1/3 innings; the Royals won two of those games, with the UNDERS going 2-1.
Game 5 Batting Splits
Kansas City ranked 11th in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .321 team on-base percentage, and sixth with a .416 team slugging percentage.
Toronto, meanwhile, led the Majors against righties with both a .335 team OBP and a .455 team slugging percentage.
ALCS Game 5 Side Pick
Kansas City won this same pitching match-up last Friday, and seems to have Big Mo on its side at the moment. Plus, the Royals are getting an underdog price. We'll go with KC for our free MLB playoff pick on Game 5.
MLB Pick: Royals +140 at Heritage