Toronto Stays Alive to Force Game 6

For the past few weeks I have focused heavily on the National League, giving no attention to the American. With the NLCS finished by the Mets Weds. night in their 4 game sweep against the Cubs, I’ll turn my attention to the American League where the Toronto Blue Jays kept themselves alive against the Kansas City Royals Weds. evening. The Royals lead the series 3-1, meaning they had the opportunity Weds. to win the ALCS and head to the World Series. But the Jays refused to go down. In fact, Toronto absolutely demolished the Royals, reminding Kansas City it ain’t over till it’s over.

The Blue Jays have had a tough time this postseason, starting with their battle against the Rangers. Down 2 games and facing elimination, the Blue Jays dug their way out, winning 3 straight to come out on top in the ALDS.

Again facing elimination, this time in the championship series, the Blue Jays found a way to hang on. Marco Estrada was a huge factor in the Jays 7-1 victory in Toronto. For the first six, Estrada faced just the minimum number of batters, keeping his pitch count low. Estrada went through 7 2/3 innings giving up just 3 hits. Royals Sal Perez homered in the eighth for Kansas City’s only run and Estrada’s only blotch of the night. With 108 pitches, Estrada helped calm the nerves of manager John Gibbons, who had few relief pitchers to choose from. The previous 2 games had worn out Blue Jays pitches, as the Royals scored 22 runs between Games 3 and 4. Liam Hendriks, Ryan Tepera, and Mark Lowe were all unavailable Wednesday, leaving Gibbons with the option of putting in Aaron Sanchez, Robert Osuna or the ace David Price. The last option would have seriously weakened the Blue Jays for the remainder of the series, as Price was (and is now) set to pitch in the forced Game 6. So with that said and Game 6 approaching, who’s going to be heading to the World Series?

The fact that the Blue Jays plowed through the Royals Wednesday, without Price, says a lot. Toronto needed to do two things Wednesday: first and most importantly win, and second, get by with the minimal amount of relief pitchers. The Jays did just that, keeping them rested and ready to go for the next game of the series. Right-hander Yordano Ventura will start for the Royals Friday. Ventura pitched in Game 2, giving up 8 hits, 3 runs, and the 3 errors of the game. In Friday’s matchup, I’m taking the Jays to tie the series. In the end, I’m going with the Royals to meet up with the Mets. The 2014 AL champions are simply better than Toronto, and with two home games to end the series; their odds are looking good. Despite the Jays outstanding fight against elimination, they’ been out played this series. Then again, it’s been a whacky series with each win being a total domination for either team.

The series continues Friday night with Game 6 heading back to Kansas City.

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