Kansas City's Royals headed to Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a 2-0 lead over the Blue Jays in their ALCS matchup after taking the first two in Kauffman Stadium. Tonight, however, the Royals travel to the Rogers Centre, where the Jays were 53-28 this season, for Game 3, which features Marcus Stroman on the mound for the home team vs right-hander Johnny Cueto.
Toronto manager John Gibbons was asked for his thoughts going into tonight's game, which is not quite a must-win game for the Blue Jays, but close to it.
"Yeah, it's not an elimination game," Gibbons told reporters, "but they win it, your back's really against the wall. It's important to win. We'll approach it like that.
"But to be honest, I feel good coming home here. The guys have a good frame of mind, I think, so we'll see what happens."
Royals' skipper Ned Yost said he wouldn't approach managing the game any differently either, in spite of the fact that his team has the lead.
"I don't manage it differently," he said. "My whole intent and focus is to win this game, and I don't even think about being up 2-0. The only thing that counts is today. We manage it the exact same way we do every day."
Instead of being nervous about taking the mound in a high-pressure situation, Marcus Stroman, who made just four starts in the regular season after returning from knee surgery, told reporters on Sunday that he looked forward to the opportunity.
"Yeah, this is fun," Stroman said. "This is what you dream about when you're a young kid growing up. So I'm happy to be in this position. I want to be the one to have the ball in these games. That's what all the preparation and all the hard work is to be able to take the ball and go out in pressure situations. And I feed off the energy of the crowd and my teammates and I'm looking forward to being out there."
Cueto said he planned on taking a workmanlike approach to his turn on the mound in the ALCS.
"I'm going to toe the rubber and give everything I've got and I'm going to take the same approach as I did the previous game and just be ready to go, ready to pitch."
Cueto will take the mound just after 8:00 PM tonight in Toronto. Here are the lineups for Game 3 of the series:
|KANSAS CITY ROYALS||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Alcides Escobar - SS||Ben Revere - LF|
|Ben Zobrist - 2B||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|Lorenzo Cain - CF||Jose Bautista - RF|
|Eric Hosmer - 1B||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Kendrys Morales - DH||Chris Colabello - 1B|
|Mike Moustakas - 3B||Troy Tulowitzki - SS|
|Salvador Perez - C||Russell Martin - C|
|Alex Gordon - LF||Kevin Pillar - CF|
|Alex Rios - RF||Ryan Goins - 2B|
|Johnny Cueto - RHP||Marcus Stroman - RHP|
Stroman vs the Blue Jays:
Cueto vs the Royals: