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Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals, ALDS 2015

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Survive and advance.

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Series Preview: Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals, ALDS 2015, Oct. 8-14, 2015

The dream continues. Crush City continues. The trip continues on to Kansas City. The battle of the BBQ. Arguably the American League's best team recided in Kansas City -- at least that was the case in 2014. Now the upstart Astros must continue to prove doubters wrong by winning another round.

Houston took three from the Royals in Houston, and Kansas City took two of three at home. This one is for all the marbles.

Pitching

Game 1: RHP Collin McHugh (19-7, 3.86 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs. RHP Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
Game 2: LHP Scott Kazmir (7-11, 3.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
Game 3: LHP Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Game 4 (If Necessary): TBA vs. TBA. 
Game 5 (If Necessary): TBA vs. TBA

Collin McHugh makes his first start in the postseason in game one of the American League Division Series. McHugh is 10-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 14 starts since the All-Star Break. In September, he is 4-0 with 4.31 ERA in five September starts. McHugh pitched seven scoreless in one career outing against the Royals.

Yordano Ventura has bounced from Triple A and the majors due to command of his electric fastball. The 24-year-old was 3-1 with 3.50 ERA in six September starts and 1-0 with a 1.29 in one October starts. He is 9-2 with 3.56 ERA since the All-Star Break. Ventura is 2-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three career starts against Houston. He is 1-0 with 3.20 ERA in five postseason appearances.

Kazmir is 7-11 with 3.10 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 31 starts. Since the All-Star break, he is 2-6 with 3.86 ERA in 14 starts. In September, he is 0-2 with 6.52 ERA in six starts. Kazmir is 1-1 with a 2.11 ERA in three starts against the Royals this season. Johnny Cueto came over in a trade with the Reds at the deadline. Cueto is 4-7 with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts with the Royals. He is 0-2 with 5.19 ERA in three postseason starts.

Dallas Keuchel is 15-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 18 home starts. Edinson Volquez is 1-2 with 5.18 ERA in six starts in September -- he made one relief appearances in October. He is 5-5 with 3.61 ERA in 18 road appearances.

Batting

Salvador Perez is leading the Royals in batting average for the past 30 days, batting .298 (25 x 84) in 23 games -- he has eight extra base hits during that time. Mike Moustakas leads the team with six home runs during that same stretch. Lorenzo Cain only has two stolen bases in 19 games over the last 30 days.

Luis Valbuena and Chris Carter have been on fire in their limited time over the past 30 days. Valubena is batting .357 (15x42) with three home runs. Carter is batting .349 (15x43) with six home runs and 12 RBIs. Jose Altuve is batting .320 (33x103) with 14 doubles during that same stretch. George Springer is batting .320 too (32 x 100) with nine extra base hits.

Prediction

I'm 1-0 so far. I'll only predict the first three games with named starters. Houston will win one of the first two games and take game three with Keuchel -- setting themselves up to win the series in Houston.