On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every playoff series during the 2015 season.
The Teams: The Astros are a hot team, having won when they needed to down the stretch, as they had a chance to claim the AL West title heading into the season's final day. They settled for the Wild Card and used a stellar outing from ace Dallas Keuchel to shut out the Yankees. The Royals surged to close the year to claim homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Past 2015 Meetings: The Astros are 4-2 against the Royals this year, including a sweep at Minute Maid Park.
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Pitching Matchups: Thursday — Collin McHugh (19-7, 3.89 ERA) vs. Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08); Friday — Scott Kazmir (2-6, 4.17) vs. Johnny Cueto (4-7, 4.76).
What's Hot: The super mullet of Colby Rasmus has been on a tear, as the outfielder has hit .500 with three homers and five RBIs in his last five games. He's been joined on the hot list by the usual suspects — Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa. McHugh allowed one run in seven innings his last time out.
Two of the Royals' staples over the last few years, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas, are both hitting the ball like crazy right now, each hitting .400 over the last four games. Yordano Ventura allowed one run in seven innings his last time out and struck out 11 batters. To no one's surprise, Wade Davis has picked up the slack of losing closer Greg Holland to Tommy John with two saves in his last two tries.
What's Not: Evan Gattis has a .000 batting average over the past week, but then you realize it's just one at-bat because he didn't play in the final series of the year as the Astros were in an NL park and Gattis is purely a designated hitter.
Eric Hosmer, who was a postseason monster for the Royals last year, is hitting just .133 over the last four games, and former Ranger Alex Rios is hitting .083 in his last three.