The Detroit Tigers meet the Baltimore Orioles in the Divisional Round of the American League Playoffs
By Ian Palmer
The first pitch of the best three-out-of-five American League Divisional Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers will be thrown out on Thursday, October 2 in Baltimore. The Orioles won the American League East with a record of 96-66 and finished 12 games ahead of the New York Yankees. The Tigers took the AL Central by just one game over the Kansas City Royals with a record of 90-72. Detroit won the regular-season series against Baltimore five games to one.
The bet365 baseball betting line has the Tigers as favorites to win the series at 20/29 with Baltimore at 5/4. The Tigers are also 2/1 to win the American League with the Orioles at 7/2.
The Orioles clinched their division a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to relax a little at the end of the regular season. Detroit, on the other hand, went right down to the wire and didn’t wrap up their division until the final day of the season. It was the Tigers fourth straight AL Central title. This could work out to the detriment of the Orioles as they could be complacent while the Tigers still have the momentum with them.
Detroit Tigers vs Baltimore Orioles AL Divisional Series Schedule
- Game 1 – Thursday, October 2, Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
- Game 2 – Friday, October 3, Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
- Game 3 – Sunday, October 5, Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
- Game 4 – Monday, October 6, Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
- Game 5 – Wednesday, October 8, Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
Game One Betting Line from bet365:
- Money Line: Tigers (M Scherzer) 100/123 (1.81), Orioles (C Tillman) 113/100 (2.13)
- Game Totals: 7.0, Over 20/23 (1.86), Under 20/21 (1.95)
- Run Line: Detroit -1.5 7/5 (2.40), Orioles +1.5 5/8 (1.62)
Game 1 Pitching Matchup:
- Baltimore Orioles Chris Tillman (13-6, 3.34 ERA) vs Detroit Tigers Max Scherzer (18-5, 3.15 ERA)
It’s surprising to many fans that Detroit had to wait until the season finale to clinch their crown since they have an abundance of wealth in both the hitting and pitching departments. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez provide them with one of the best one-two punches in all of baseball. Martinez was on fire in September when he batted .378 for the month, which was his high mark of the season. Cabrera was no slouch either as he hit eight home runs in the final month to match his best monthly output of the season.
The Orioles will be starting right-handed ace Chris Tillman in the first game of the series and he’s struggled against both Cabrera and Martinez. Cabrera has gone 5-for-13 against him during his career with a homer and four RBIs while Martinez has gone 4 for 10 with a pair of RBIs. It looks like Detroit manager Brad Ausmus will likely be going with right-hander Max Scherzer in game one. Scherzer is the reigning AL Cy Young award winner and he lasted started back on September 25 against the Minnesota Twins. Scherzer also had a great September as he was lit up for just one home run in the month.
The Orioles are in the playoffs for the first time since back in 1997, but have just been coasting over the past couple of weeks since they clinched the AL East. The lost three of their last four games and went 5-6 over their last 11. This means they’ll now have to try and flip the switch back on by the time Thursday rolls around and get their competitive juices flowing once again.
The Orioles will be depending on Nelson Cruz to lead the offense since he led the Majors in home runs this season with 40. He had five RBIs in Baltimore’s last nine contests and All-Star centerfielder Adam Jones chipped in with a pair of home runs and five RBIs in the team’s final four games. They also hit Scherzer pretty well as Cruz is has gone 8 for 21 against him with a home run and four RBIs and Jones is 9 for 18 with a home run and two RBIs.
On the downside, Baltimore will have to play the postseason without the services of Chris Davis since he’s been suspended for the playoffs for taking a banned substance. Davis had 26 homers and 72 RBIs in 127 games before being banned. Thirty-one-year-old Steve Pearce filled in for Davis at first base and did a good job, especially over the final 17 games when he had a terrific 1.149 OPS. Pitcher Tillman finished the season on a sour note though as the Toronto Blue Jays pounded him for 11 hits and four runs in half a dozen innings in his final start. However, in the 10 games before that he was exceptional as Baltimore won all 10 games and he had a 1.79 ERA over that stretch.
Detroit Tigers Team Leaders
- Home Runs: Victor Martinez-32
- RBIs: Miguel Cabrera-109
- Hits: Miguel Cabrera-191
- Batting Average (over 335 at bats): Victor Martinez-.335
- Pitching wins: Max Scherzer-18-5
- ERA (over 65 innings): Max Scherzer-3.15
Baltimore Orioles Team Leaders
- Home Runs: Nelson Cruz -40
- RBIs: Nelson Cruz -108
- Hits: Adam Jones-181
- Batting Average (over 335 at bats): Steve Pearce-.293
- Pitching wins: Wei-Yin Chen-16-6
- ERA (over 65 innings): Zach Britton-1.65