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Toronto Blue Jays' Marco Estrada seeks improved command in Game 5

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
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Toronto Blue Jays' Marco Estrada seeks improved command in Game 5
Toronto Bluejays Marco Estrada pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning of game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on October 16, 2015. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- Marco Estrada said his Game 5 start on Wednesday comes down to location.

The Toronto Blue Jays hope he is the right guy in the right place as they try to avoid elimination in the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals.

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"I think the key for me (Wednesday) is being able to locate my fastball more so than my off-speed pitches," the right-hander said Tuesday.

The Blue Jays lost 14-2 Tuesday in Game 4 as the Royals took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The matchup Wednesday is a repeat of Game 1, when Estrada allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings when facing right-hander Edinson Volquez in a 5-0 Kansas City victory.

"The first time around, I didn't really have four-seam location," Estrada said. "I didn't have the down-and-away (pitch) as much as I wanted to. And those were the pitches that really got hit. So for me, the most important thing is to be able to establish the fastball location and then work off that."

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If he puts the fastball in the right spots, it make his changeup a devastating pitch.

The Royals recorded 15 hits in each of the first two games played at Rogers Centre, with each team winning once.

"I faced them twice during the regular season," Estrada said. "They're just like any other team where some guys take and some guys don't.

"But pitching against them in the playoffs, it's been a lot different. At least my game was. They're really aggressive, and I've noticed that they've kept that up."

Estrada said he did not need a video session to determine the problem.

"I have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing," he said. "Those things just happen, and it was one of those days for me. I did go to the bullpen and threw a lot of fastballs, just working on the down and away. ... I feel pretty good and confident about that pitch."

Looking at the big picture of the series, Toronto manager John Gibbons said, "The key is to get a good outing out of Marco and we'll see where it takes us. Not a more important game this season, really. I know these guys will be ready."

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