Kansas City Royals (89-73) at Baltimore Orioles (96-66)
|Date & Time||Wednesday October 8, 2014, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Baltimore Orioles / Kansas City Royals --- Over/Under:
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The Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles will play in an improbable 2014 ALCS matchup that begins Friday night. The Royals won the regular season series, 4-3.
The Orioles are the favorites to win the series with odds of -140, while you can get the Royals at +120.
So, who wins the series?
As I did in the first round of the playoffs, I’m going with the underdog in the Kansas City Royals. Everybody talks about the Orioles dominant bullpen, but the Royals have the same thing. Sure, the O’s have the better and stronger lineup, but the Royals have found ways to put together timely runs and have scored eight or more runs in two of their four playoff games. The Royals also do something better than any team in baseball, which was my deciding factor in picking KC to go to the World Series.
Let’s begin with the pitching in the first round of the playoffs. The Royals struck out 40 batters in 43 innings, allowed 31 hits and had an overall ERA of 2.93. The Orioles struck out 26 batters in 27 innings, allowed 22 hits and had an overall ERA of 3.33. During the regular season, the Royals had an ERA of 3.51, and the Orioles had an ERA of 3.43. The pitching for both teams is as good as it gets, which makes this a wash when trying to decide a winner.
The Baltimore Orioles do have an advantage in the hitting department, as they were Top 10 in runs scored and batting average. In the ALDS, the Orioles had 26 hits, four homers and batted .263. Hitting was supposed to be a weakness for the Royals, but they banged out 36 hits, four homers and batted .240 in the ALDS. Eric Hosmer is the hottest hitter in baseball with seven hits in 14 at bats, including two homers and five RBIs. The O’s may have more power and the bigger names, but the Royals showed in four games that they can produce more than enough offense when needed.
However, the deciding factor for me in picking KC was the speed of the Royals. The Royals led the majors with 153 stolen bases, which was 31 more than any other AL team, and they wasted no time wreaking havoc in the wild card game by stealing seven bases. The Orioles were one of the better teams in not allowing stolen bases as they gave up just 84 bags, but five of those in seven games came against the Royals. KC is super aggressive, isn’t afraid to take chances and is going out there to win the game rather than playing not to lose. It’s the formula that usually pays off in a big way come October.
I know what the Orioles are capable of and even had them ranked as the top team in baseball heading into the postseason. However, the Kansas City Royals have something special going, seem like they refuse to be denied and will continue to find ways to win.
This series will be no different.