Kansas City Royals Need To Steal Back Momentum


The Kansas City Royals are in trouble. Losing game 1 at home is a bad omen. When losing game 1 of a five game playoff series at home, 28 out of 39 teams in baseball history have gone down in defeat.

Those aren’t good odds.

What makes those probabilities worse is the looming threat of Dallas Keuchel in game 3. Astros ace Keuchel is 15-0 at home, with a spectacular 1.49 ERA with 139 strikeouts in 129.1 innings.

Standing in the way of a Houston sweep is deadline acquisition Johnny Cueto. Cueto, whom the KC Royals acquired to from the Cincinnati Reds to headline their rotation, now needs to show he was worth the three left-handed prospects that general manager Dayton Moore surrendered in trade.

As harsh as it sounds, the fate of the Johnny Cueto trade hangs in the balance. If Cueto pitches the Kansas Kansas City Royals to victory, and the trade looks pretty good. If Johnny Cueto lays an egg like Yordano Ventura did Thursday night, Cueto’s acquisition will be remembered as an costly failure.

The Kansas City Royals pretty much need to win on Friday against Houston starter Scott Kazmir, or they will be all but eliminated. Making a turnaround even more difficult, Kazmir enjoys a career .231/.272/.336 slash line and .608 OPS against current KC Royals players.

More from KC Royals News

Aside from fighting history and Dallas Keuchel, the Kansas City Royals must do something their playoff opponents failed to do last season: halt the momentum of an emerging young team after gaining their confidence with wins over more experienced opponents. As Fangraphs.com’s August Fagerstrom put it, the Astros are the new Royals.

In short, the KC Royals need to do more than merely win on Friday night. They also need to puncture the Astros’ self-belief.

Last season, the Kansas City Royals rode the charge from their emotional comeback win over the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card game to an 8-0 run through the American League playoffs. This season, the Houston Astros threaten to do the same thing to the KC Royals that the Royals did to the Los Angeles Angels in 2014: sweep the team with the A.L.’s best regular season record after entering the playoffs as a wild card.

However, the Kansas City Royals have faced elimination before. First, is their improbable comeback from a four-run eighth inning deficit in their wild card game against Oakland. Second is game 6 of the 2014 World Series in which the Royals rode seven shutout innings from Yordano Ventura to a 10-0 victory.

The salty 2015 KC Royals team isn’t going to panic. But the calendar doesn’t read 2014 anymore.

Next: Royals So-Called Home Field Advantage