Home field advantage does not always matter when it comes to baseball. Statistically, it accounts for one victory out of every eight games, which, in a five or seven game series, is not necessarily a factor. Yet, if one considers the rabidness of the Kansas City Royals fans to be an advantage, which, given the way the team feeds off the crowd, then those statistics may not apply.
With that being the case, today’s game against the Houston Astros may be a virtual must win for the Royals. While they are not facing elimination at this point, they do have a tough task ahead with the potential American League Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel on the mound. Meanwhile, the Royals counter with Edinson Volquez, who may have been their most consistent starter this season.
For those that do believe in the power of the home field advantage, the Astros now have the potential to have the deciding ALDS contest on their home turf. Naturally, they need to win later today, but this matchup between Keuchel and Volquez now has much greater ramifications for the Royals than it otherwise would have.
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Likewise, taking the third game of the series may blunt the Houston Astros momentum. In taking that first game, and the subsequent home field advantage, from the Kansas City Royals, the Astros are likely feeling quite confident. It certainly makes sense that they would have that feeling, especially with their ace on the mound for the pivotal third game. Houston, at least at the present, certainly seems to have the advantage.
That confidence can be a double edged sword, however. Yes, the Astros have a swagger now, but they did just watch the Royals come from behind to snatch Game Two away. Should the Royals take Game Three, at Minute Maid Park, and with their ace on the mound, that confidence that the Astros have may be lost.
The Kansas City Royals are not facing an elimination game, yet Game Three has the feeling of a must win game nonetheless. It is time for the Royals to take control of this series.