2014 MLB Playoffs
American League Division Series – Game #3
Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
Orioles lead Best of Five Series 2-0
Comerica Park – Detroit, Michigan
Sunday, October 5, 2014, 3:45 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Tigers (David Price) -170 / Orioles (Bud Norris) +150
Current Line: Tigers -175 / Orioles +155
Opening Total: over 7 1/2 -110 / under 7 1/2 -110
Current Total: under 7 1/2 -125 / over 7 1/2 +105
Opening Run Line: Tigers -1 1/2 (-110) / Orioles +1 1/2 (-110)
Current Run Line: Tigers -1 1/2 (+125) / Orioles +1 1/2 (-145)
The Baltimore Orioles are one win away from advancing to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1997. The Orioles won the first two games of the best of five AL Division Series against the Detroit Tigers in Baltimore 12-3 in game one and 7-6 in game two Friday. Baltimore has 3 World Series titles, and the last was in 1983.
The Tigers are in the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Detroit has been a bridesmaid in recent years advancing to at least the ALCS in the last 3 seasons, but the Tigers are still seeking their first World Series title since 1984.
Baltimore is managed by Buck Showalter. The Orioles won the Al East Division with a 96-56 record, 12 games better than the New York Yankees. It was the first division title for Baltimore since the 1997 team. Detroit is managed by Brad Ausmus. The Tigers won the AL Central Division title with a 90-72 record. Detroit held off a hard charging Kansas City Royals by one game for a fourth straight division title.
Baltimore will start Bud Norris in the potential closeout game. Norris went 15-8 in 28 starts this season. Norris had an ERA of 3.65 with 139 strikeouts with 52 walks. He has a WHIP of 1.22. He hasn’t pitched since September 24 when he got the win against the Yankees after going 6 innings and allowing 3 runs in a 9-5 Orioles win. Norris was shelled in two starts against the Tigers this season allowing 9 earned runs and 14 hits in 12.2 innings.
Baltimore has a strong bullpen. Closer Zach Britton has an ERA of 1.65 in 71 appearances. He has 37 saves, 7 holds and a 3-2 record. He has 62 strikeouts and 23 walks. He has a WHIP of 0.90. Britton got a save in game two of this series. Set-up man Darren O’Day has a 1.70 ERA in 68 appearances with a 5-2 record. He has 25 holds and 4 saves. O’Day has 73 strikeouts and 19 walks.
Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones batted .281 in the regular season with 181 hits including 29 home runs. He has 96 RBI”s. Nelson Cruz hit 40 home runs with 108 RBI’s in the regular season. He has 4 hits so far in the ALCS with a home run and 3 RBI’s. Delmon Young hit the game winning double with the bases loaded in game two to clear the bases. Other key players include RF Nick Markakis and shortstop J.J. Hardy. The orioles are without first baseman Chris Davis, third baseman Manny Machado and catcher Matt Wieters are all out for the season.
Detroit will try to stay alive and force game 4 tomorrow night. The Tigers will start lefty David Price, acquired at the trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Rays. The former Cy Young winner went 15-12 between Detroit and Tampa Bay in 34 starts. He has an ERA of 3.26 with 271 strikeouts and 38 walks. He has a WHIP of 1.08. Detroit is lucky enough to have three Cy Young award winners in their rotation along with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Price allowed only 4 hits and no earned runs in his last start September 28 in 7.1 innings as Detroit beat the Minnesota Twins 3-0.
While starting rotation is among the best in the game for the Tigers, the bullpen has always been an issue during the current playoff run. Detroit thought they had shored up those issues with the signing of closer Joe Nathan. However, the Tigers bullpen has struggled so far in the series. The Tigers gave up 8 runs in the 8th of game one and 4 runs in the 8th of game 2. Nathan had 35 saves during the regular season. Nathan hasn’t had a chance to pitch yet though as Joba Chamberlain and Joakim Soria have given up a combined 9 earned runs in the series. Four relief pitchers are out for the season.
First baseman Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2013. This year he batted .313 with 25 homers and 109 RBI’s. He has 4 hits and a home run in the series against Baltimore. Left fielder J.D. Martinez has 2 home runs and 4 RBI’s in the series. DH Victor Martinez has 3 RBI’s in the series. Rajai Davis is questionable with a groin injury. Outfielder Andy Dirks and shortstop Jose Iglesias are both out for the season.
Even if Price pitches well, this series will be over quickly if the Tigers can’t shore up their bullpen issues. Scoring runs hasn’t been a problem for either team. I think the Tigers win to stay alive.
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