By Bob Elliott
Houston Astros at Kansas City Royals
Team payroll: Astros $81.2 million (25th over-all).
Octobers: Zero World Series wins, one pennant, nine playoff appearances.
Post-season record: 25-31.
Last post season: 2005, swept in World Series by Chicago White Sox.
Manager: A.J. Hinch.
How they got here: Dallas Keuchel pitched six scoreless as the Astros blanked the Yankees 3-0 as Colby Ramus and Carlos Gomez each homered.
Run differential: Plus 111.
Stud Hosses: SS Carlos Correa, 20, had 22 doubles, 22 homers and 68 RBIs in 99 games batting .279 with an .857 OPS, plus George Springer, who had 19 doubles, 16 homers and 41 RBIs in 102 games with an .826 OPS and 200-hit man 2B Jose Altuve with 40 doubles, 15 homers, 66 RBIs and an .812 OPS.
Theme: “We made it out of New York, we can make it anywhere.”
Looking up: LHP Keuchel made 33 starts going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA walking 51 and striking out 216 in 232 innings. Closer Luke Gregerson had 31 saves going 7-3 with a 3.10 ERA as he walked 10 and struck out 59 in 61 innings.
Looking down: Ex-Jay Rasmus hit .238 with 25 homers and 61 RBIs, 154 strikeouts in 485 plate appearances.
Canadian content: Whitby LHP Evan Grills at single A Lancaster, RHP Brock Dykxhoorn of Goderich, Ont. at class-A Quad Cities and former Leaside coach, Jim Stevenson, who scouts Oklahoma.
Canadian rootability rating: No. 9 of 10 teams in post season.
Bodog World Series odds: 14-1.
Kansas City Royals
Team payroll: $125.4 million (13th)
Octobers: One World Series, two AL pennants, eight post-season appearances.
Post-season record: 29-28.
Last post season: Lost Game 7 of the 2014 World Series to the San Francisco Giants.
Manager: Ned Yost.
How they got here: Had one losing month -- September (going 11-17) but won all four October games.
Run differential: Plus 83.
Stud Hosses: DH Kendrys Morales (.290 batting average, 22 homers, 106 RBIs and .847 OPS), CF Lorenzo Cain (.307, 37, 98, .838), 1B Eric Hosmer (.297, 18, 93, .822).
Theme: Anyone see the Giants this fall?
Looking up: RHP Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55, 72 walks, 155 strikeouts in 200 1/3 innings), RHP Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08), 58 walks, 156 whiffs in 163 1/3 innings),
Looking down: RF Alex Rios (.255, four, 32, .640), RHP Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44, 46 walks, 176 strikeouts in 212 innings),
Canadian content: Cambridge’s Scott Thorman managed class-A Burlington and Lonnie Goldberg, who lived in Guelph from 2003-07 and married a Canadian, is KC’s scouting director.
Canadian rootability rating: No. 8.
Bodog World Series odds: 5/1.