The selection of the Royals’ 25-man roster for their American League Division Series against Houston did not elicit much, if any, surprise when it was released before Game 1 on Thursday.
The only real decision for manager Ned Yost was to select two backup outfielders. With Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Rios and Jarrod Dyson entrenched, Yost had three choices: switch-hitter Jonny Gomes, speedy Paulo Orlando and Terrance Gore, the so-called fastest man in baseball.
Yost went with speed over the bat of Gomes.
“We don’t have a team that we pinch-hit for,” Yost said. “All of our lefties hit well against lefties. So we don’t really have a spot that we can identify as a pinch-hitting situation late in the game.
“I mean, all of our guys have been really productive. We think our lineup’s really deep, and it’s more about running than it is pinch-hitting.”
Instead, Yost said he had identified six spots in his lineup in which he could use a pinch runner in the eighth or ninth inning to get a runner in scoring position in a tie game or a run down.
“Gore and Dyson are, you know, top-notch base stealers,” he said. “Paulo is one of the fastest guys in the league, and it just gives us that speed element.”
The 11-man pitching staff is led by Game 1, 2 and 3 starters Yordano Ventura, Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez. It also contains two No. 4 starter options in Chris Young and Kris Medlen. The bullpen consists of closer Wade Davis, set-up relievers Ryan Madson and Kelvin Herrera, plus righty Luke Hochevar and lefties Danny Duffy and Frankln Morales. Left off was Jeremy Guthrie, who struggled down the stretch and fell out of the No. 4 starter competition.
The starting infield of Eric Hosmer, Ben Zobrist, Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas is joined by backup Christian Colon and DH Kendrys Morales.
Royals 25-man roster
Pitchers (11): RH Johnny Cueto, RH Wade Davis, LH Danny Duffy, RH Kelvin Herrera, RH Luke Hochevar, RH Ryan Madson, RH Kris Medlen, LH Franklin Morales, RH Yordano Ventura, RH Edinson Volquez, RH Chris Young
Catchers (2): Drew Butera, Salvador Perez
Infielders (6): IF Christian Colon, SS Alcides Escobar, 1B Eric Hosmer, 1B/DH Kendrys Morales, 3B Mike Moustakas, 2B Ben Zobrist
Outfielders (6): CF Lorenzo Cain, OF Jarrod Dyson, LF Alex Gordon, OF Terrance Gore, OF Paulo Orlando, RF Alex Rios
Astros 25-man roster
Pitchers (11): RH Josh Fields, RH Mike Fiers, RH Luke Gregerson, RH Will Harris, LH Scott Kazmir, LH Dallas Keuchel, RH Lance McCullers, RH Collin McHugh, RH Pat Neshek, LH Oliver Perez, LH Tony Sipp
Catchers (2): Jason Castro, Hank Conger
Infielders (6): 2B Jose Altuve, 1B Chris Carter, SS Carlos Correa, IF Marwin Gonzalez, IF Jed Lowrie, 3B Luis Valbuena
Outfielders (6): DH/OF Evan Gattis, OF Carlos Gomez, CF Jake Marisnick, LF Colby Rasmus, RF George Springer, OF Preston Tucker