The Kansas City Royals have announced their starting rotation for the World Series. They’re going with Edinson Volquez in Game 1 on Tuesday, Johnny Cueto in Game 2 on Wednesday, Yordano Ventura in Game 3 on Friday and Chris Young in Game 4 on Saturday.
“I like the setup,” Royals television analyst Rex Hudler said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “What else are they going to go with? Come on, Danny Duffy was put in the bullpen a couple of months ago and he’s really added a nice left arm at 97, 98 mile per hour and he can eat up two or three innings. But Volquez, it’s been amazing in the postseason. I watched every start of his this year. I don’t know what he made – 27, 28 starts – and he was the Royals’ most consistent starter, but he’s found an extra gear in the postseason. He’s going 97, 98, where mainly he was 94, 95 during the season. He’s got that extra gear, and his movement is wonderful. Nobody’s concerned about him.”
People are, however, a little concerned about Cueto. He has a 7.88 ERA in three postseason starts, but that is a tad misleading. He allowed six runs in 14 innings in two home starts against Houston – both wins – but gave up eight runs in two innings in a loss at Toronto.
One must wonder which Cueto will show up Wednesday.
“Johnny Cueto, they’re just hoping (he won’t) be the Johnny Cueto that pitched in Toronto,” Hudler said. “That’s why Ned (Yost) wants him going at home. Look, all a Royals starter has to do is go five innings with that great bullpen. So look, the starters are plenty good, but that’s going to be the key for the Royals to win their first crown in 30 years: their starting pitching. Everything else is well balanced. Their offense, one through nine, oh my gosh. All of them have a license to drive that bus – and they do. Bullpen is solid. I’ll tell you: they got a couple of weapons off the bench.”
The Royals, of course, advanced to the World Series last year, ultimately losing to the Giants in seven games. The Mets, on the other hand, haven’t made the World Series since 2000.
Will the Royals’ experience be a factor in this series? Hudler says yes.
“It’s huge,” he said. “Are you kidding? Last year, fielding questions from professionals like yourself, they were all saying, ‘Well, the Royals have never been there before. They don’t have any experience.’ My comeback was, ‘Well, they don’t have ay postseason experience, but what would you rather have: talent or experience?’ So the talent overcame the lack of experience by the Royals last year as they ran the gamut and set a Major League record in eight straight postseason wins because of their talent. And now that they have the experience and talent? Call the cops, man. The Mets are in trouble.”
Hudler apparently isn’t scared of the Mets’ starting rotation.
“Believe me, (the Royals are) going to score some runs,” Hudler said. “Their fangs are out, they want the crown. If the Mets can beat the Kansas City Royals, I will become a Mets fan for sure.”