Baltimore Orioles: AL Championship Preview Game 1


First – shout out to my good buddy Josh Michaels over at KC Kingdom side of FanSided for initially leading me over here to The Baltimore Wire and for this very interesting matchup between the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals.

I don’t want to seem over-confident even though I was the one to text him first and start the trash talk (all friendly of course). I even suggested a small wager: loser buys winner a jersey of our respective football teams but also players we can’t stand (Elvis Grbac for him and Larry Johnson for me) but ultimately Josh declined wanting to avoid the added stress while watching the series and honestly, I’m glad he did.

And now here we are. Game one tonite and unfortunately I’m picking up an extra at work so I’ll be getting updates as Scorecenter and MLB at Bat vibrate my phone.

I believe this will be the best series of this postseason. Kansas City, as Josh eloquently puts it, has magic on their side. Hard to argue. Kansas City is widely considered the Cinderella team this season – knocking out of the playoffs the Oakland A’s, who many analysts thought would be in the World Series, and top-seeded Los Angeles Angels.

But Baltimore can also be looked at as a bit of a Cinderella team. Championship drought since 1983 and the passing of former owner the late Frank Cashen this year, the Orioles have also  stunned us with an impressive sweep in the divisional series against the Detroit Tigers. And thus we have a rather intriguing matchup.

Pitching, I give the edge to Baltimore, although by a small margin. Chris Tillman with a flawless 4.00 ERA will be the starter, while the Orioles will face a 2.81 ERA James Shields who has pitched two victories already against Baltimore in seven innings each time. Orioles will look to Tillman and their superb defense to keep the Royals off the bases.

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The contrasting styles of play are going to come down to which team best uses their strengths. Kansas City certainly has the speed, leading the majors with 153 stolen bases in the regular season, while Baltimore takes a more casual approach to rounding the bases.

On the opposite end while Kansas City is stealing bases, the Birds lead the majors with 211 home runs to Kansas City’s less than 100. And ultimately I believe home runs will be a difference maker. Even without Chris Davis, I give the edge in hitting to Baltimore. Not really close. And with the addition of JJ Hardy, this game is Baltimore’s to win.

Get ready, Josh, the trash talk is just getting started.