Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, seen here seconds away from biting Salvador Perez’s face off.
Suddenly, the American League Division Series just got a whole lot more predictable, as both the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles are one win away from heading to the League Championship, thanks to late-inning heroics from Mike Moustakas of the Royals and, well, the entire Orioles offence save for Adam Jones and Nick Hundley in Game 1, and Eric Hosmer of the Royals and Delmon Young of the Orioles in Game 2.
The two series have been different in the respect that while the Orioles and Tigers games have been characterized by timely offensive outbursts (Mainly by the O’s, obviously) the Royals and Angels pitching staffs have mostly held the other team in check, thanks to great performances from Jason Vargas, Yordano Ventura, Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker, and solid relief, which was seen as a weakness of the Angels prior to the playoffs. It still is, really, but hey, they’ve done well until extra innings. As long as someone in their offense not named Kole Calhoun can make literally anything happen, they stand at least a minor shot at maybe winning the next three games.
If you’re betting money on that happening though, you’re either very brave, or very, very, very stupid.
I’m little less hard on the Detroit Tigers, as their rotation is still really good (Even if Scherzer and Verlander underperformed) and their offense is hitting… Just not as much as the Orioles. Also, their bullpen (Aside from Anibal Sanchez) has been just the worst, with an ERA well over twenty. FUCKING TWENTY.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME(S):
Orioles Hitters: Nelson Cruz (Game 1: 2 Hits in 4 At-bats, 1 Home Run, 2 Runs, 3 RBI) Delmon Young (Game 2: 1 Hit in 1 At-bat, 1 Double, 3 RBI)
October is the time of the year when the baseball world takes the time to remember that Delmon Young still exists. And holy shit does he ever exist in a big way for the Orioles.
Orioles Pitchers: Andrew Miller (Game 1: 1 2/3 Innings Pitched, 0 Hits, 0 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, 3 Strikeouts) Kevin Gausman (Game 2: 3 2/3 Innings Pitched, 3 Hits, 1 Earned Run, 1 Walk, 5 Strikeouts)
Kevin Gausman, the young, donut-loving hurler from Colorado, outperformed his predecessor, a horribly out-of-form Wei-Yin Chen, to hold the powerful Tigers offense to a mere 1 run over almost 4 innings.
2nd Orioles Pitcher: Chris Tillman (Game 1: 5 Innings Pitched, 4 Hits, 2 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, 6 Strikeouts)
I would’ve preferred a 6-inning outing, which is why I ended up giving the “Pitcher of Game 1” title to Andrew Miller, the reliever, but hey, Tillman was pretty great as well.
Orioles Clutch Relievers: Andrew Miller (Game 1), Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach, Zach Britton (Game 2)
Tigers Hitters: N/A (Game 1) J.D. Martinez (Game 2: 1 Hit in 4 At-bats, 1 Home Run, 1 Run, 3 RBI)
Former Houston Astros reject J.D. Martinez has driven in 4 of the 9 Tigers runs in this series with his two home runs. He gave the boys from Detroit a lead in Game 2 with a 3-run blast, but then their bullpen happened.
Tigers Pitchers: N/A (Game 1) Anibal Sanchez (2 Innings Pitched, 0 Hits, 0 Earned Runs, 0 Walks, 2 Strikeouts)
Sanchez has literally been the only Tigers pitcher to escape the first two games with a good statline.
Tigers Clutch Relievers: Anibal Sanchez (Game 2)
Royals Hitters: Mike Moustakas (Game 1: 1 Hit in 3 At-bats, 1 Home Run, 2 Runs, 1 RBI) Eric Hosmer (Game 2: 3 Hits in 4 At-bats, 1 Home Run, 2 Runs, 2 RBI)
I could have just as easily gone with “Every KC runner to get on base in these playoffs.”
Royals Pitchers: Jason Vargas (Game 1: 6 Innings Pitched, 3 Hits, 2 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, 2 Strikeouts) Yordano Ventura (Game 2: 7 Innings Pitched, 5 Hits, 1 Earned Run, 1 Walk, 5 Strikeouts)
“You put your right leg in, you put your right leg out, you put your right leg in and you shake it all about…”
Royals Clutch Relievers: Brandon Finnegan, Wade Davis, Tim Collins, Jason Frasor, Danny Duffy, Greg Holland (Game 1) Wade Davis, Jason Frasor, Brandon Finnegan, Greg Holland (Game 2)
Angels Hitters: N/A
Angels Pitchers: Jered Weaver (Game 1: 7 Innings Pitched, 3 Hits, 2 Earned Runs, 2 Walks, 6 Strikeouts) Matt Shoemaker (Game 2: 6 Innings Pitched, 5 Hits, 0 Earned Runs, 0 Walks, 6 Strikeouts)
Angels Clutch Relievers: Joe Smith, Huston Street, Kevin Jepsen (Game 1) Jason Grilli, Joe Smith, Huston Street (Game 2)