Volquez, Matz eye 4th LCS W for KC, Mets

Volquez, Matz eye 4th LCS W for KC, Mets

By the end of today, the 2015 World Series matchup could be set with two potential series-clinching contests on tap.

Both the Royals and Mets are vying for a fourth victory to punch their tickets to the Fall Classic. On Tuesday, Kansas City dominated the Blue Jays in Toronto, winning 14-2 and taking a 3-1 edge in the ALCS. And in Chicago, the Mets are on the verge of sweeping the Cubs in the NLCS, up 3-0 after Tuesday's 5-2 win.

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Here's a look at today's matchups:

Royals at Blue Jays, Game 5
3 p.m. air time, 4 p.m. game time on FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet
Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13)

Game Date Matchup
Gm 1 Oct. 16 KC 5, TOR 0
Gm 2 Oct. 17 KC 6, TOR 3
Gm 3 Oct. 19 TOR 11, KC 8
Gm 4 Oct. 20 KC 14, TOR 2
Gm 5 Oct. 21 TOR 7, KC 1
Gm 6 Oct. 23 KC 4, TOR 3

The defending AL champions will try to repeat, needing just one more win to return to the World Series. They'll do so with Volquez on the mound as he looks to follow up his impressive Game 1 start.

Volquez tossed six scoreless innings against the Blue Jays in the opener, putting his past playoff struggles behind him. The right-hander was 0-3 with a 8.76 ERA in three previous postseason starts, including Game 3 of the AL Division Series.

For the Blue Jays, they'll need a repeat of their ALDS performance to stay alive, hoping to become just the eighth team in 37 tries, and the first since the 2012 Giants, to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven LCS. Toronto won three straight elimination games to advance past the Rangers.

"It definitely makes the task at hand more difficult, but we're all professionals here," Josh Donaldson said of being down, 3-1, in the series. "We went out there and tried to grind it out as much as we could and fell short [Tuesday]."

Estrada gets the start for Toronto, coming off his Game 1 loss in which he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings. Estrada has been among the Jays' most steady starters this season, winning a career-best 13 games and posting a 3.13 ERA.

Mets at Cubs, Game 4
7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time on TBS

Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (10-7, 3.74)

Matz on pitching in Wrigley

Game Date Matchup
Gm 1 Oct. 17 NYM 4, CHC 2
Gm 2 Oct. 18 NYM 4, CHC 1
Gm 3 Oct. 20 NYM 5, CHC 2
Gm 4 Oct. 21 NYM 8, CHC 3

Matz will try to continue New York's run of impressive pitching performances when the Mets and Cubs return to the field for Game 4 in Chicago. New York's starting pitchers have surrendered just 11 hits to the Cubs through 20 1/3 innings in this series.

Matz took the loss in Game 4 of the NLDS. The rookie allowed three runs in five innings opposite the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. After missing July and August with a torn lat muscle, Matz excelled as a starter in the regular season, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.27 ERA through six outings.

Chicago, meanwhile, will try to accomplish the improbable. Only one team, the 2004 Red Sox, has overcome an 0-3 deficit in a seven-game series. The Cubs will send Hammel to the mound for his sixth career postseason appearance. He'll have to contend with a red-hot Daniel Murphy, who's homered in five straight postseason games.

"I've watched a lot of baseball over the years, [and] I don't think I've seen anybody put on this kind of a show on this stage like he has so far," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "... He's been unbelievable."

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.