Game 4 of the ALCS between the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays did not go well for the latter. Kansas City won by a dominating score of 14-2, which leaves them up 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. So the Jays need a far, far better performance if they’re to win Game 5 tonight and extend the series.
Toronto will look to starting picther Marco Estrada to help them force a Game 6. And Estrada is looking for a little redemption after allowing three runs in six innings in Game 1 of the ALCS.
“He wasn’t bad that first start,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Estrada. “It was just Volquez was so good. [Estrada] gave us a chance to win the game. … If he pitches his game and he’s on, we feel pretty good.”
As Gibbons’ comments indicate, Kansas City’s Edinson Volquez was on fire during their Game 1 outing. Volquez held the Toronto bats scoreless through six innings and helped them cruise to a 5-0 win. Royals manager Ned Yost is hoping to see the same from his star pitcher in Game 5.
“He’s proven that he’s capable of doing it,” Yost said. “That’s why this game is so wonderful, it’s not a cookie-cutter game. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you get out there, find out what’s working and how your command is, and if you’re duplicating your mechanics, and being able to repeat. We’ll find out [Wednesday].”
Volquez can be a bit of a streaky pitcher, as he showed by giving up 3 runs in 5 innings against Houston in the AL Division Series. However, it’s certainly not out of the question for him to be magnificent once again.
The same can be said of Estrada, though, who was one of the league’s hottest pitchers over the last three months of the regular season. He just needs to make sure his fastball is on point for the next game.
“Obviously, it’s very important to have all your pitches,” Estrada said. “I think the key for me [in Game 5] is being able to locate my fastball more so than my off-speed pitches. The first time around, I didn’t really have four-seam location, I guess. I didn’t have the down-and-away [location] as much as I wanted to. And those were the pitches that really got hit.”
While there will certainly be lots of pressure on Estrada, he’d rather be pitching than sitting on the bench.
“You cheer for them as much as you can, but you can’t help them on the field,” he said. “So when I’m on the mound, it’s a lot of fun for me. I enjoy it and I’m just having fun being on the mound. Not so much watching, but actually pitching.”
The Royals and Blue Jays clash at 4:07pm EST today, so be sure to get your bets in on Game 5 before then.