2014 ALCS Game 1 Orioles vs. Royals 10/10/14
Kansas City Royals (89-73) at Baltimore Orioles (96-66)
MLB Baseball: Friday, October 10, 2014 at 8:07 pm (Camden Yards)
James Shields (R) (15-8) (3.290) vs. Chris Tillman (R) (14-6) (3.263)
The Line: Baltimore Orioles -130 / Kansas City Royals +120 --- Over/Under: 7 See the Latest Odds
The Baltimore Orioles host the Kansas City Royals for game one of their ALCS series at Camden Yards on Friday night.
The Kansas City Royals have won four straight games in the playoffs after a thrilling come-from-behind win in the wild card round against the A’s and a sweep of the Angels in the ALDS. The Royals are averaging six runs per game in the postseason with totals of 9, 3, 4 and 8 thus far. 24 year old first baseman Eric Hosmer has been leading the offensive charge with a .500 average while hitting two home runs, a triple, a double and five RBIs. Mike Moustakas is batting .286 with two home runs, Alcides Escobar is batting .278, and Alex Gordon is batting just .200 but has four RBIs and three of the team’s 12 stolen bases. Supplementing the team’s effort at the plate have been some amazing plays in center field by Lorenzo Cain and a pitching staff with a combined ERA of 2.93, amassing 40 strikeouts over 43 innings.
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The Royals will turn to James Shields to open the series after the gamer has gone 11 innings across two starts thus far conceding six runs, three of which came on HRs. For the season Shields had a WHIP of 1.18 and ERA of 3.21 while posting a 14-8 record. The righty Shields was at his best on the road with a 2.97 ERA and 10-2 record over 19 regular season starts. Shields also had an ERA of 3.21 over 14 innings of work while winning two starts against the Orioles.
The Baltimore Orioles also haven’t lost in the postseason as they enter this series off a sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, twice coming from behind at home to create magical endings. The Orioles are averaging seven runs per game in the postseason with totals of 12, 7 and 2 thus far, but it should be noted that the bulk of that damage was done in the late innings against a dreadful Tiger bullpen. Nelson Cruz is leading the charge for the Baltimore offense batting .500 with two home runs and five RBIs, Alejandro De Aza is batting .375 with two doubles, J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop are each batting .300 with two RBIs, Steve Pearce is batting .300 with an RBI, and Nick Markakis and Delmon Young are each batting .250 with three RBIs as virtually everyone in the lineup has contributed. The Orioles pitchers have a combined postseason ERA of 3.33 with half of all Baltimore runs allowed coming from starter Wei-Yin Chen.
Chris Tillman will make his second start of the postseason on Friday night after allowing two runs over a taxing five innings of work against the Tigers. For the regular season Tillman had a WHIP of 1.23 and ERA of 3.34 while posting a record of 13-6. The righty Tillman was sharp at home with a 2.54 ERA over 18 starts despite compiling just a 5-5 record. Tillman pitched a complete game five hit shutout in his only start this year against the Royals back on May 16th in Kansas City, before the Royals had hit their stride.
Either team could certainly win this opener as both have solid offenses and pitching staffs, but the home edge has been very apparent for the O’s thus far making them my selection here.