Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA) and the Kansas City Royals go up against Scott Kazmir (7-11, 3.10 ERA) and the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the Divisional Playoffs at Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium. The Astros won the last game 5-2, and Houston leads the series 1-0. The game gets underway at 3:45 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 9 and will air on FS1.
In his most recent outing, Cueto pitched 5.0 innings, giving up one run, striking out four and walking four in a 6-1 victory over the Twins. Kendrys Morales (.291, 83 Rs, 24 HRs, 108 RBIs) continued his strong season yesterday, going 2 for 4 with two runs, two home runs, and two RBIs. The Astros were victorious over the Mariners 7-6 the last time Kazmir pitched. He went 4.1 innings, allowing six runs (two unearned), striking out three and walking two. Carlos Correa (.275, 52 Rs, 22 HRs, 68 RBIs, 14 SBs) went 1 for 5 yesterday.
The line is currently unavailable. The Royals are a nightmare on the bases for opponents with 105 steals, one of the highest totals in baseball.
During the last 10 games, they averaged 6.4 runs per game, above their 4.5 season average. The Astros are known for their power, smashing a league-leading 234 home runs. Houston is a terror on the base paths, ranking third in the MLB with 124 stolen bases. The Astros are the top pitching staff in the AL, essentially shutting down opponents to the tune of 3.8 runs allowed per game. They have a WHIP of 1.195, fifth best in the MLB.
The Astros had the upper hand against the Royals in their previous seven games this season, earning a 5-2 record. This game will feature Kazmir (LHP) on the mound against the Royals, who have a 31-26 record when they take on a left-handed starter. The right-handed Cueto will take the mound against the Astros, who have a 55-47 record against righty starters this season.
Predictions: SU Winner - HOU
Houston has won 60% (42-28) of its games when leading after seven innings. However, Kansas City has won 63% (40-23) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Astros are coming into this game after allowing one walk during their last outing. The Royals have a 25-31 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
When they outhit their opponents, the Astros are 66-18. The Royals have a 75-8 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking seventh in runs, Kansas City has earned 726 this season. Houston ranks fifth with 737 runs.
Ranking 29th, Kansas City is near the bottom of the league in walks, notching 384 this season. Houston ranks in the top 10 at 10th with 494.
The Royals are 64-32 when they hit at least one home run. The Astros perform similarly when they hit one or more homers with a 75-46 record.