4 ingredients for Royals winning the ALCS
TORONTO -- The Royals have a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series, and there's nothing they'd like better than to end it here sometime over the next three games.
That would allow them a nice break before the World Series, which is set to start Oct. 27.
What do the Royals need to do to punch their ticket to the Fall Classic? As Game 3 of the best-of-seven ALCS approaches on Monday (7 p.m. ET air time on FOX Sports 1 and Sportsnet, with game time at 8 p.m.), here are four ingredients to a winning formula.
The Royals will need to adjust their pitching philosophy when needed. Right-hander Edinson Volquez let it be known that because he had such great command on the outside corner during his pregame bullpen session that he scrapped the original plan of pitching the Blue Jays inside. It worked so well that Yordano Ventura followed up with the same strategy in the Game 2 win, making hitters chase pitches off the plate. But the Royals know that the Blue Jays will adjust. "And we'll have to adjust back," a Royals coach said, "like, right away."
2. Run, run, run
The Royals know running against Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin will be a challenge, but they believe they can get the running game going against Toronto pitchers Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey because of their times to the plate. We shall see.
3. Keep the Jays tame
The Royals know that the Blue Jays have the offensive firepower to rip open a game in a hurry with the long ball. "If we're going to give up homers, especially here," a coach said, "keep it as solo shots. They can't kill you with solo home runs."
4. Keep the line moving
The Royals have been very effective, starting in Game 4 of the AL Division Series, with the simple offensive philosophy of "keeping the line moving." All that means is for their hitters not to try to win the game all by themselves. "When we all have great at-bats," Alex Gordon said, "it's a pretty tough lineup." Fans saw that again in the Royals' five-run seventh that won Game 2 of the ALCS.