ALCS Preview: Orioles vs. Royals
By: Tyler Turner
This years ALCS might be one of the most exciting series baseball has ever seen. In the National League the usual suspects have made it this far; however the ALCS provides fans with the future of baseball.
The Royals road to this years postseason has been magical, starting with an exhilarating wild card game victory over Oakland, and continuing with the sweep of the best team in baseball, the L.A. Angels. The Orioles have had their share of postseason magic as well. Going up against three straight CY Young winners was no small task but powerful hitting allowed the O’s to “Cruz” by the Detroit Tigers. If you asked any baseball analyst who would be playing in the American League Pennant, no one would have predicted the O’s and Royals to be battling it out (including Keith Law and his 0-4 NL/AL Division Series record).
The Orioles seem to have the edge in this series; however the same was said about the Angels. The O’s lived and died by the long ball this year leading the league with 211 home runs, while the Royals finished dead last in the AL with 95 long balls. With batters like Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and JJ Hardy, it’s going to be tough for the Royals to hang with the bats of Baltimore.
Based off numbers the Royals have the upper hand when it comes to pitching. During this postseason the Royals have a 2.93 ERA with an opponents batting average of just .203. The Orioles on the other hand have a 3.33 ERA and an opponents batting average of .218. While the numbers are close KC has pitched 16 more innings this postseason and still kept a lower ERA and OBA. The O’s do have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball with the likes of Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yen Chen. Even though the O’s have bigger name pitchers, I give the edge to the heart driven Royals.
There are several X-factors to look at during this series. One of the major differences between the two squads is speed. The Royals led the league with 153 stolen bases while the O’s had a mere 44 (of 64) stolen bases. Another intriguing X-factor is Chris “Crush” Davis. After being suspended 25 games for amphetamines, Davis has served 20 of those games. Chris Davis wouldn’t be able to play until game 6; however it’s a slight possibility the O’s keep him on the roster.
The Orioles key player for the series has to be Nelson Cruz. He lead the league with 40 homers this year, and if he continues his tear the O’s should win easy. However if he gets into a slump, someone else in the Orioles line up will have to step up to the plate. For the Royals I look at Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. The duo has been on fire this postseason each with 2 home runs and Hosmer hitting a whopping .500. If these two up and coming stars can continue to hit, the O’s will be in trouble.
Someone’s magic is destined to die out, and it’s going to be the Kansas City Royals. The Royals have been a great story, and while it’s always sad to see the underdog finally lose, it just seems destined. The O’s are just simply too good. Great hitting, great pitching, great managing under Buck Showalter, and Orioles magic will come through again this series giving the O’s a World Series berth for the first time since 1983. The Royals will give it all they’ve got but fall short losing in 6 games to the Baltimore Orioles.