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Record: 50-31 Home; 46-25 Road
Manager: Buck Showalter. Post season experience: 1999 lost NLDS with Arizona, lost 2012 ALDS with Baltimore.
Injuries: C Matt Wieters 60 day DL, 3B Manny Machado 60 day DL, 1B Chris Davis-suspended.
- Chris Tillman
- Wei-Yin Chen
- Bud Norris
- Miguel Gonzalez
The Orioles use their rotation in a more college style than any other playoff team. Aside from game 1 starter Chris Tillman, Showalter will have a quick hook for the rest of the starters both to keep them in the current game and presumably fresh for the next game in case they are needed. Baltimore got 78 quality starts from its starters this year good for 25th in all of baseball. Baltimore boasts a strong bullpen in addition to 5th starter Kevin Gausman assuming the long relief role should a starter not get to the 5th inning. Darren O’Day is the side arm delivering righty who holds right handed batters to a .164 average (and lefties to a .189 average) would likely be a single out guy as his left handed counterpart Andrew Miller who holds lefty batters to a .163 average. Acquired at the deadline Miller is the key to this bullpen working and shortening games with matchup outs as the left hander to come into the game in a big spot. Tommy Hunter has fit nicely into the 8th inning role with Zach Britton and his 37 saves closing the door. Overall this is a staff that will hold its breath early and hope for 5 innings out of the starter and the lead to hand over to their capable bullpen.
Baltimore is among the league leaders in several offensive categories and led the majors in home runs. This after losing Wieters and Machado for the season, and Davis to PED suspension. Steve Pearce has stepped in admirably for Davis and hit 21 homers, but more importantly hit .293 and had an OBP of .373. Nick Markakis leads off and uses his plate discipline to get on base, he also hit .290. Trade acquisition Alejandro DeAza steps in second and although his overall numbers don’t show it he actually has found his hitting stroke since joining the team. His true value will be discussed in the next section. Adam Jones and his steady production hits in front of Nelson Cruz and his 40 regular season home runs. JJ Hardy’s power dried up this year but his .270 average still plays. Johnathan Schoop hit 16 home runs but totes a paltry .209 average to the post season. Jimmy Padares will man 3B with his .308 average. Caleb Joseph is Wieters’s replacement at catcher. The team leader in stolen bases had 8 so this isn’t a team built to manufacture runs in close games.
Delmon Young will be the first bat off the bench in RBI situations. Kelly Johnson and Ryan Flaherty could be used as backup infielders at 2B or 3B depending on need. DeAza has improved the outfield defense by pushing Nelson Cruz to permanent DH. His mobility will help keep balls in the gap in front of him and thus singles instead of doubles. Quintin Berry will be the late inning pinch runner.
Record 45-36 Home; 45-36 Road
Manager: Brad Ausmus. No post season managerial experience.
Injuries: OF Rajai Davis Day to day will be available for series.
- Max Scherzer
- David Price
- Justin Verlander
- Rick Porcello
The names the Tigers throw at you are impressive but the overall numbers of their staff are not. As a staff they rank 24th in ERA, WHIP and batting average against. Joe Nathan lost his closer job earlier in the summer but over the past two months has posted ERA’s of 3.48 and 3.00. He does have 35 saves in total this season but the team brought in former closer Joakim Soria to pitch the 8th, and after coming off the DL on September 11th he has worked himself back into shape. Al Alburquerque and his 72 appearances could look to be involved in the 7th inning along with team leader in holds Joba Chamberlain. The bullpen is strengthened by the addition of Anibal Sanchez off the DL but with no time to build arm strength. He would answer the call in case of a short start. Rick Pocello could be the key for them as he is a ground ball pitcher going against a fly ball hitting team in the Orioles. Phil Coke is the lefty specialist out of the bullpen and will likely be matched up against Nick Markakis in the late innings.
The Tigers use Ian Kinsler as the leadoff batter as they probably feel he is better at setting the table rather than trying to drive in runs at this stage of his career. The ageless Torii Hunter hits behind him and has held up remarkably well for a full time outfielder of his age. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez follow to add thump to the lineup. J.D Martinez and his break out bat protects Martinez in the lineup with rookie 3B Nick Castellanos behind him. Alex Avila handles the pitching staff well and has had some timely hits in his bat. SS is a fluid situation between Andrew Romine and Eugenio Suarez. Lastly Davis mans CF and hits 9th but may be limited by a groin injury. This is a righty dominated lineup that hits long balls and thrives on big innings just as much as Baltimore.
If Davis’s injury prevents him from playing the Tigers will be in trouble in the outfield defensively. The Tigers won’t substitute in late innings. Romine would likely be the pinch runner as he stole 12 bases during the season.
The Tigers are a power club bested in most categories by only the Orioles. The O’s have the bullpen advantage but the starting nod goes squarely to Detroit. In the post season pitching wins out over hitting, thus the Tigers take the series 3-2.
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