The KC Royals did not make the playoffs, but that does not mean as a fan, you cannot watch the MLB Postseason. Six former Royals are still participating in the playoffs across the four remaining rosters.
Former Royals teammates will face off in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series tonight at 8:30pm ET on TBS, as the St. Louis Cardinals have home field advantage in the best-of-seven series over the LA Dodgers (all games can be seen on TBS). Former CY Young award winner Zack Greinke gets the starting nod in the first game for the Dodgers. Outfielder (and postseason hitting machine) Carlos Beltran most likely will be batting second and starting in right field for the Cardinals. The two were teammates in the big leagues back in 2004 (Greinke’s rookie season).
Beltran is the Cardinals lone former Royal, while the Dodgers have three who are major parts of their roster. With Greinke starting Game 1, he could conceivably start two more games in the series if he has a good start tonight and if manager Don Mattingly decides to go with a three-man rotation like he did in the Division Series against Atlanta, though he would have to pitch on short rest. If not, you will see him starting in LA in Game 5 on October 16th at 4pm ET on TBS (if necessary).
Mark Ellis has started every game at second base for the Dodgers in the playoffs and I do not see that changing. He is also slated to bat second once again in their order. Lefty reliever JP Howell became the go-to guy against Atlanta with the struggles of fellow lefty Paco Rodriguez (Howell pitched in the final three games of the series). I expect Howell to face off against Matt Carpernter, Matt Adams, and John Jay alot in this series (or maybe even to turn Beltran around to bat right-handed). During the regular season, Carpenter and Jay went a combined 0-for-3 with a strikeout against him.
The American League Championship Series begins on Saturday night at 8pm ET on FOX, as the Boston Red Sox have home-field advantage in the best-of-seven series over Detroit.
The two teams each have one former Royal on their roster. Tigers backup catcher Brayan Pena is still looking for his first playoff appearance this season. Outfielder Quintin Berry made one appearance so far this postseason, as he pinch ran in Game 3. Neither will see much time in this series either, though I expect Berry may get another pinch running opportunity.
*The Tigers were the final team to advance to the LCS, as they beat Oakland in Game 5 last night. The A’s had two former Royals on their playoff roster, though reliever Jesse Chavez never left the bullpen.
Infielder Alberto Callaspo cracked the starting lineup at second base in the final game of the series. He batted seventh, but went 0-for-3. He pinch-hit three times in the series, going 1-for-3 with a double (which came in Game 2. He came up in the eighth with the bases loaded in Game 4, but lined out to end the inning.
Which former Royal will you be rooting for in the LCS?