The second American League Division Series opens Thursday evening and fans can watch the Houston Astros travel to Kansas City to face the Royals live online, The visiting wild card winners look to put a dent in the defending AL Champions’ hopes of returning to the World Series for the second straight year, after the Royals went 29 straight years without even a postseason appearance, much less a trip to the Fall Classic.
Before losing a tough, seven-game World Series to the San Francisco Giants in 2014, Kansas City had last appeared in the postseason back in 1985 when they edged the Toronto Blue Jays in a seven-game American League Championship Series, then hung on for a controversial victory, also in seven games, over the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first and only World Series title since joining the big leagues as an expansion franchise in 1969.
The Astros, on the other hand, came into the league in 1962 — then known as the Houston Colt 45s — but have never won a World Series, getting that far only once and seeing postseason play for just the 10th time, with their wild card finish this season.
After shutting out the New York Yankees on Tuesday behind 20-game winner Dallas Keuchel, the Astros send a 19-game winner to the mound to open their series against the Royals in 28-year-old righty Collin McHugh. McHugh compiled a 3.89 ERA this year, but will be facing the Royals for the first time in his career.
To find out how to watch game 1 of the best-of-five Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals American League Division Series live online, see the streaming information in the final paragraph of this article. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. Central Time at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri — 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 4:30 p.m. Pacific.
Led by 25-year-old first baseman Eric Hosmer, 29-year-old center fielder Lorenzo Cain, and 32-year-old DH Kendrys Morales, the Kansas City offense saw improvement in 2015 from last year’s World Series squad, averaging 4.47 runs per game, good for seventh in the AL — up from just 4.02 last year.
But once again, the Royals compiled their 95-win record on the strength of their pitching staff, with a 3.73 team ERA that ranked third in the American League. But Houston’s pitching staff ranked first, allowing just 3.57 runs per game.
The Royals open the series with 22-year-old, third-year righty Yordano Ventura, winner of six of his last seven regular season decisions. But Ventura is already experienced under the bright lights of postseason play, and in the 2014 World Series, he started two games, allowing just two runs in 12 1/3 innings pitched against the Giants.
Wildness was a concern, however, as Ventura walked five in those two games while fanning just six. During the 2015 regular season, the youngster fanned 156 in 163 1/3 innings, walking 58 on his way to a 4.08 ERA and a 13-8 win-loss record.
But if Ventura falters, the Royals can fall back on their league-leading bullpen, which put together a 2.72 ERA this year.
Can the Kansas City Royals take their first step toward a second straight trip to the World Series? Or will the Houston Astros blast their way to a second straight postseason win as they aim for only the second World Series appearance in their history? To find out, watch the Houston Astros Vs. Kansas City Royals American League Division Series game 1 live online from Kansas City, Missouri, by going to Fox Sports Go at this link, or downloading the Fox Sports Go app to watch on mobile devices. Fox Sports Go also streams live on the Amazon Fire TV device, allowing fans to watch the Astros vs. Royals game live online on their TV sets.
[Images: Ed Zurga / Christian Petersen / Getty Images]