Tigers v Orioles
When asked which of these two teams has a better overall ERA most people would assume the Tigers, who have 3 Cy Young award winners in their rotation. Those people would be wrong. The Baltimore Orioles have a team ERA of 3.43 compared to the Tigers 4.01, over half a run more per game. It may appear this gives the O’s an advantage, because pitching and defense wins championships, and it very well may. However, there are two problems with this, the Tigers are good at hitting the baseball (average of 4.7 runs per game to the O’s 4.4) and these Detroit Tigers have been here before. Don’t get me wrong, the Orioles can hit the ball nearly as well, but a good number of their players have never been to the postseason, so who knows how they’ll hold up against a playoff veteran team in the Tigers. On paper, it seems the Tigers have a better team, although the Orioles finished the year with six more wins, but these Baltimore Orioles are very ready and excited to be here, and will definitely give the Tigers a run for their money.
Key Players for each team:
Tigers: The starting rotation that includes 3 Cy Young winners (Scherzer, Verlander, Price) must pitch like they are capable of pitching, or the O’s bats will show that they are not here by accident.
Orioles: The entire pitching staff is the key for the O’s. This Tigers team, led by arguable the best hitter in the league Miguel Cabrera, can and will score runs, fast. If the O’s pitchers can keep the Tigers under 3 runs per game the Orioles have a chance to win.
The young, hungry Orioles are able to equal the pitching of the Tigers and their hitters, led by Adam Jones, and get the job done in 4 games.
Angels v Royals
Big market Angels, small market Royals. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols vs James Shields and a team of players that most non-diehard baseball fans have never heard of. Both playoff starved teams, both hungry for a title. The Royals showed in their Wild Card matchup with the A’s that they’re here to play ball. This is a true matchup of the Angles’ hitters (4.8 rpg) vs the Royals’ pitchers (3.51 ERA). The Angels, led by the best player in the game Mike Trout, will look to beat up on the Royals solid pitching staff often and early, much like the A’s did, though they have a better lineup to put the game away. On the other hand, the Royals pitchers need to shut down the heart of the Angels order (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton) if they want any chance of winning. The Angels have a solid enough staff that if they can take a lead late into the game, especially the 9th (where Huston Street will almost surely close the game), they will be very comfortable. But, this Royals team showed they are here to fight, and while they won’t hit the ball out of the park like the Angels will, they did steal 7 bases and score 9 runs on a very good A’s team. This is the best small ball playing team the MLB has seen in years, and it is exciting to watch. Without their best starting pitcher Garrett Richards, the Angels will be at a disadvantage if they are unable to hit the long ball and grab big, early leads.
Angels: Phenom Mike Trout in his first ever playoffs must play up to his ability and carry this offense, while also playing a great center field, if the Angels are to win.
Royals: The pitchers must do a better job of keeping the Angels from scoring than they did against the A’s. They have the better staff, and if they can keep the score low they will be able to score enough runs.
The Angels take the first two at home, while the Royals take the next two in Kansas City, where the crowd was electric, but the Angels win a blowout game 5 back in LA.
Written by: Eli Gilboy