Navarro steps in behind plate in Game 5
The lineups are set for Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday at Rogers Centre. The Royals are one win away from the World Series, and the Blue Jays are one loss away from ending their season.
Toronto will have Marco Estrada on the mound (3 p.m. ET air time, 4 p.m. game time on FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet), and catcher Dioner Navarro will be behind the plate to usher him through the game. Kansas City will counter with Edinson Volquez, who pitched six scoreless innings in Game 1.
"We've got to do it," Navarro said of the situation for Toronto. "If we don't do it, we go home, and that's the bottom line."
The Royals have stuck with the same lineup in every one of their postseason games, and it's certainly not surprising that they went with the same group that earned a 14-2 win in Game 4.
Kansas City will start out with Alcides Escobar, Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain batting in the top three slots, and then comes the power tandem of Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales. Cain had two hits Tuesday and set a franchise record with a 13-game hitting streak.
And there's good news for the Royals in the statistics: Cain is a .333 career hitter (3-for-9) with a .400 on-base percentage against Estrada, and Hosmer is a .500 hitter (4-for-8) against the right-hander.
1. Escobar, SS
2. Zobrist, 2B
3. Cain, CF
4. Hosmer, 1B
5. Morales, DH
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Salvador Perez, C
8. Alex Gordon, LF
9. Alex Rios, RF
Down to the last drop
The Blue Jays are hoping for a power revival from their lineup, which will feature Josh Donaldson batting second, Jose Bautista batting third and Edwin Encarnacion batting fourth. Russell Martin isn't in the starting lineup for Game 5, and Navarro hopes to mine some great results from Estrada.
"He's just done a great job throughout the whole season. And today won't be different," Navarro said of having Estrada on the hill in a must-win game. "I think having faith the first time over in Kansas City is kind of going to help us out and make the adjustment and do what you've got to do."
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who hit a key home run in Game 3, will bat sixth for the Blue Jays, and then will come the bottom trio of Navarro, Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins. Navarro said that the key for Estrada will be staying ahead of the Royals' batters and staying out of offensive counts.
"I think he's just got to get ahead. They're going to put the ball in play," said Navarro. "They don't strike out much. They're got to make things happen. So I think if he gets ahead and works ahead on the count, he's going to not make it easier, but is going to give us a better shot of finishing hitters off."
Blue Jays lineup
1. Ben Revere, LF
2. Donaldson, 3B
3. Bautista, RF
4. Encarnacion, DH
5. Chris Colabello, 1B
6. Tulowitzki, SS
7. Navarro, C
8. Pillar, CF
9. Goins, 2B