So now we get ready for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. The Orioles will host the Kansas City Royals in the first two games on Friday and Saturday at Camden Yards. Both teams completed three-game sweeps yesterday against teams with bigger payrolls and bigger names. But Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and their teams are done now. During the regular season, the Royals took four of seven from the Orioles, outscoring them 26-18. But these teams have not met since May 18. Kansas City pitching worked to an ERA of 2.42 in the season series. The O's were held to a .225 batting average in the season series with a .297 slugging and a .562 OPS. Kansas City led the majors in stolen bases each of the last two years and they've stolen 12 bases in four postseason games. The other nine teams in the postseason have combined for 10 stolen bases. This series might be billed as power versus speed - the O's and all those homers against all that K.C. speed. Both teams have excellent bullpens with some power arms. The Orioles last won the World Series in 1983 and Kansas City last won in 1985. One of these clubs will get a chance to end that drought later this month. Here is a tweet last night from Richard Justice of MLB.com:
Most wins in the majors since July 22: 42 - Orioles and Nationals 41 - Royals Kansas City trailed Jon Lester and Oakland 7-3 in the eighth inning of the AL wild card game on Tuesday and now they are one step from the World Series. Royals pitchers held Trout and Josh Hamilton to a combined 1-for-25 in sweeping the Angels. Now can they hold down Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones? By the way, if Chris Tillman, as I would expect, gets the Game 1 start for the Orioles, he faced Kansas City one time this year. And he pitched his first career shutout with a five-hitter on 117 pitches May 16 at Kauffman Stadium. Both of these squads have that "team of destiny" look right now. But one will have its dreams end in the ALCS. Will Caleb Joseph catch more in this series after starting just once in the Detroit series? Joseph caught 38.2 percent of attempted basestealers (21-for-55) this season. He fell three games short of qualifying, but his caught-stealing percentage would have been second in the majors and led the AL. Meanwhile, the TBS studio crew was still talking about the play at first base from the second inning yesterday well into last night, and they sure are convinced a bad call was made and a run should have scored. That is fine, but here is the deal for Detroit: The Tigers' vaunted offense scored three runs in Game 1 and one run in Game 3. They got out pitched by the team without any Cy Young winners. Bud Norris held Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez to 0-for-9 on the day. That is why the Orioles won and Detroit lost. Tigers pitching gave up two runs. Norris and the O's bullpen made that stand up for the Orioles. The Tigers had 32 at-bats to do something and they got four hits Sunday. Next time, score more runs. End of rant. So Birdland, how you feeling today?
Competitive balance lives. 5 of top 6 payroll teams gone from MLB playoffs. ALCS will feature 15 vs 19. Orioles v Royals.— Richard Justice (@richardjustice) October 6, 2014
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