Edinson Volquez had the high point of his career last night, coming through with six shutout innings against the game’s most potent lineup. Volquez’s work kept Kansas City in command throughout and they finished off a 5-0 win over Toronto to open the American League Championship Series.
The only time the Blue Jays threatened was the sixth. Volquez nearly thought himself into trouble, getting away from the fastball and trying to get cute with off-speed stuff. After two walks to open the inning and Edwin Encarcion and Troy Tulowitzki looming, Volquez received a visit from the pitching coach to get him back on track. Properly re-focused, Volquez returned to the fastball and squelched the rally.
Toronto starter Marco Estrada wasn’t awful, pitching into the sixth inning and leaving with the score 3-0. But the Royal lineup had him back on his heels throughout the night. Kansas City consistently made solid contact, underscored by three laser doubles and a home run from Salvador Perez.
All in all, it added up to a pretty easy evening for the Royals. Once they got the lead, there was never any sense that they would lose.
David Price’s postseason problems have become well-documented in the past week, namely his 0-6 record as a starter. In the last few days, both Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto have answered questions about their own playoff records with lockdown performances in elimination games. Toronto’s situation isn’t that grave—they’ve still got Games 3 thru 5 at home—but it would behoove them for Price to get out of his October funk this afternoon.
Even though the Blue Jays return home after today, I’m sure they don’t want to face Cueto down 0-2 on Monday night. When it comes to today, if nothing else, Toronto’s bats can awaken against Yordano Ventura who’s been spotty in the playoffs (and the regular season for that matter).
The NLCS gets rolling in prime-time, with Cubs-Mets from Citi Field, Jon Lester against Matt Harvey. This is all in addition to a great day of college football highlighted by Michigan State-Michigan, including USC-Notre Dame and Penn State-Ohio State and extending to a big day in the SEC with Alabama-Texas A&M and LSU-Florida. Oh, and the flag football team of nine-year olds that I help coach will go for our fourth straight win. That’s the most important one of all. Octoberfest rolls on, in this great month for sports.