GAME 1 – Chris Young (0-1, 3.60) vs Collin McHugh (0-1, 135.00)
The 36-year old veteran Young enters his second season with the Royals. The journeyman starter went 11-6 last year with a 3.06 ERA. He started the second game of the season and earned a tough loss, only giving up two earned runs in five innings. Young doesn’t have amazing pitching talents, but he consistently has gotten the job done. His mainly uses a fastball/slider with an occasional changeup.
His fastball averages 87 mph and he induces a ton of fly ball outs, which one would think to be troublesome at Minute Maid Park. His last start in Houston was in September 2014, where he got shelled for seven runs in three innings, and in three lifetime appearances at MMP, he has allowed 8 home runs in 17 innings pitched. Conversely, current Astros are only hitting .158 versus Young.
It would be in Collin McHugh’s best interest to erase his memory from his recent trip to New York. He got absolutely demolished by the Yankee lineup and gave 6 runs (5 earned), managing to record only one out, before being replaced. McHugh has had success against the Kansas City lineup, so a bounce-back outing could be in store. He is 2-1 against KC, including last year’s postseason starts. Alex Gordon has fared well against McHugh, batting .429, and Morales also hit two postseason home runs.
McHugh has pitched slightly better at home than on the road, and he will need make adjustments on his command, as well as getting more action on his cutter. He doesn’t throw extremely hard, and although he has a good curveball, it doesn’t have near the same effect if his fastballs have no life on them. McHugh is a fiery competitor, and will look to put the disaster in New York behind him on Monday night.
Prediction: Astros 6 – Royals 4
Next: Astros vs. Royals Game 2