Royals in must-win situation

By Steve Sell
October 09, 2015

The never-at-a-loss-for-words Pete Rose, of all people, said it best Thursday night as he served as an analyst for Fox Sports I.

“If you win the first game, then you only have to win two out of four. If you lose the first game, then you have to win three of four,” said Rose, who is trying to polish his sullied image as he continues his quest for a Hall of Fame invite that probably will never come.

That’s what’s facing the Kansas City Royals as they are now squarely behind the 8-ball.

Houston continues to look more and more like the 2014 Royals as it went into adrenaline-filled Kauffman Stadium and immediately took the crowd out of the game, scoring two runs in the first inning. The Astros never looked back in taking a 1-0 best-of-fives series lead with a 5-2 victory.

Just like the Royals of last year, the Astros won the play-in game, defeating New York, and came into Kansas City dripping with confidence. Take away Kendrys Morales’ two solo homers and the Royals’ attack resembled little more than a popgun, as once again their dreadful lack of plate discipline made the job a lot easier for Houston’s pitchers.

Yordano Ventura obviously didn’t have it before the rain delay took him out of the game. Chris Young kept the Royals within shouting distance with four nice innings of relief, but Ryan Madson’s first pitch in the eighth inning was sent deep into the night, along with the Royals’ chances. KC pitchers struck out 14 against the swing-and-miss Astros, but Houston’s pitchers gave up only one walk and seldom were pushed to three-ball counts.

Now the Royals must hope that Johnny Cueto can locate his misplaced former greatness this afternoon or this Series is going to be over in a heartbreat. The Royals will have no chance in Game 3 at Houston against Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, who is 15-0 at Minute Maid Park, not to mention he’s the type of pitcher who flummoxes the Royals because he throws a lot of soft stuff.

Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez, all known for their anxiousness, were a combined 0 of 12. Hosmer had a couple of chances to deliver, but his late-season swoon continued as it looks like he’s trying to hit 10-run homers instead of using the entire field. Moustakas didn’t look confident at all, while Perez did hit one rope, but the rest of the time swung at everything that moved.

The road team is now 3-0 in the postseason as my sleeper pick, Texas, went into Toronto on Friday and muffled the Bluejays, 5-3. 

All four series continue today and it will be interesting to see if the road-warrior trend continues.