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Albert Pujols was asked earlier on Tuesday about the possibility of facing the Royals in the American League Division Series -- which means he'll eventually play a postseason game in the first U.S. city he lived in -- and the Angels' first baseman smiled.
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie has never pitched in the postseason despite his 11 years in the Majors. He's pitched well down the stretch, with an 8-2 record and 3.42 ERA in his last 12 starts, and could be tabbed to start against the Angels on Thursday in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
The Angels finally learned whom they'll match up with in the American League Division Series late Tuesday night, when Salvador Perez's 12th-inning base hit to left field lifted the Royals to their second uplifting comeback in a stirring, 9-8 win over the A's in the AL Wild Card Game. Here are three keys to beating the upstart Royals.
When the A's went for it all by making the huge Trade Deadline deal to get Jon Lester from the Red Sox on July 31, they felt the left-handed ace was just the perfect guy they could send to the mound for any do-or-die game in the postseason. When that time came on Tuesday in the American League Wild Card Game, Lester fell short with his worst outing of his short tenure for Oakland.
Rookie Brandon Finnegan helped the Royals do something they hadn't done in 29 years -- celebrate a postseason victory -- by pitching 2 1/3 clutch frames in extra innings of a scintillating 9-8 walk-off triumph in 12 over the A's in the American League Wild Card Game at Kauffman Stadium.
Brandon Moss had a two-run homer and a three-run shot in Tuesday's loss to the Royals.
A.J. Hinch went right to work in his first day as manager of the Astros on Tuesday, a day that included a series of meetings, a tour of Minute Maid Park and a get-to-know-you session with All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve.
Royals manager Ned Yost came out to briefly discuss the call of a foul ball off the bat of Eric Hosmer during the eighth inning of Tuesday night's AL Wild Card Game, though he was unable to challenge it due to the rules of instant replay. Although fair/foul ball calls are on the list of reviewable plays, it only applies to balls that are hit beyond the first or third-base umpire.
Danny Hultzen, who missed the season after shoulder surgery, threw well Tuesday in his third instructional league outing of the past few weeks. The left-hander will be shut down until next spring, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said, addressing a variety of offseason topics.
Jered Weaver has been at his best lately, in the buildup to his long-awaited postseason return. The fastball has been a couple ticks higher, the slider has had a little bit more bite, the command has been sharper, his results have been better.
It's safe to say that Nationals right-hander Drew Storen has been a dominant pitcher ever since manager Matt Williams gave him the closer's job on Sept. 7. It was a role that had belonged to Rafael Soriano for most of the season.
If the Giants are to prolong their bid to win another World Series in another even-numbered year, they'll have to survive with a lineup for Wednesday's NL Wild Card Game that includes Gregor Blanco and Travis Ishikawa, whom have been regarded as platoon players for most of their careers.