American Lead Division Series: Detroit v. Baltimore

Coverage and Analysis by Ben Sherbacow, Contributing Writer

ALDS DET v. BAL Game 1

 

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WP: Tillman

LP: Scherzer

Bottom 1st: Baltimore

Nelson Cruz homered (380 ft.) to deep right, Nick Markakis scored

DET 0 – BAL 2

Top 2nd: Detroit

Víctor Martínez homered (369 ft.) to deep right

DET 1 – BAL 2

J.D. Martínez homered (345 ft.) to right

DET 2 – BAL 2

Bottom 2nd: Baltimore

Nick Markakis singled to right center, Ryan Flaherty scored, Jonathan Schoop to third

DET 2 – BAL 3

Bottom 7th: Baltimore

J.J. Hardy homered (392 ft.) to deep left center

DET 2 – BAL 4

Top 8th: Detroit

Miguel Cabrera homered (379 ft.) to deep right center

DET 3 – BAL 4

Bottom 8th: Baltimore

Adam Jones reached on Andrew Romine’s fielding error, Alejandro De Aza scored, Adam Jones to first

DET 3 – BAL 5

Nelson Cruz singled to center, Adam Jones scored

DET 3 – BAL 6

Ryan Flaherty singled to left center, Nelson Cruz scored, Steve Pearce to third, J.J. Hardy to second

DET 3 – BAL 7

Nick Hundley grounded out, shortstop to first, Steve Pearce scored, J.J. Hardy to third,Ryan Flaherty to second

DET 3 – BAL 8

Jonathan Schoop doubled to shallow right, J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty scored

DET 3 – BAL 10

Alejandro De Aza doubled to right center, Jonathan Schoop and Nick Markakis scored

DET 3 – BAL 12

ALDS DET v. BAL Game 2

 

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WP: Brach

LP: Soria

SV: Britton

Bottom 3rd: Baltimore

Nick Markakis homered (363 ft.) to deep right, Jonathan Schoop scored

DET 0 – BAL 2

Top 4th: Detroit

Víctor Martínez singled to left, Torii Hunter scored, Miguel Cabrera to third

DET 1 – BAL 2

J.D. Martínez homered (380 ft.) to deep left, Miguel Cabrera and Víctor Martínez scored

DET 4 – BAL 2

Nick Castellanos homered (353 ft.) to deep right

DET 5 – BAL 2

Bottom 4th: Baltimore

J.J. Hardy singled to left center, Adam Jones scored

DET 5 – BAL 3

Top 8th: Detroit

Víctor Martínez doubled to deep center, Torii Hunter scored, Miguel Cabrera to third.Miguel Cabrera out advancing on throw

DET 6 – BAL 3

Bottom 8th: Baltimore

Steve Pearce singled to shallow right center, Adam Jones scored, Nelson Cruz to second

DET 6 – BAL 4

Delmon Young doubled to left, Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce and J.J. Hardy scored

DET 6 – BAL 7

ALDS Game 3 DET v. BAL

 

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WP: Norris

LP: Price

SV: Britton

Top 6th: Baltimore

Nelson Cruz homered (344 ft.) to right, Adam Jones scored

BAL 2 – DET 0

Bottom 9th: Detroit

J.D. Martínez doubled to deep right center, Víctor Martínez scored

BAL 2 – DET 1

Coming into this series, the results seemed clear. Detroit, a team that’s been to the postseason for the past four years, sporting an All-Star lineup including sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, veteran outfielder Torii Hunter, defensive wizard Ian Kinsler, and an incredibly impressive pitching staff including Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and David Price, all of which have extensive and successful postseason experience.

And then there was Baltimore, the winners of an incredibly weak division. While three of the Tigers’ starters have won a Cy Young Award, no one in the Orioles’ rotation has earned a single Cy Young vote. They were missing keys links in Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Matt Weiters, who combined for 42 percent of the team’s home runs and 40 percent of the club’s RBIs in 2013. Machado missed the entire month of April and suffered a season-ending knee surgery in August. Wieters had Tommy John surgery on May 10.

And when Wieters and Machado were together for a brief stretch in early May, Davis was on the disabled list with an oblique injury. Davis had a terrible year at the plate, hitting just .196 before receiving a 25-game suspension in September for amphetamine use. The Orioles didn’t have the star-studded pitching staff Detroit boasted, instead relying on a bevy of young starters in Chris Tillman, Wei-Yen Chen, and Bud Norris. The Orioles had the capability of making it a close series, but nearly everyone expected Detroit to come out on top. On paper, it was almost no contest. At least one of Detroit’s big three pitchers would get a win.

And yet, nothing’s that simple in baseball.

The Orioles have swept the Tigers in three games. Not counting the eighth-inning blowout that happened in the first matchup, the games were close, but Baltimore ultimately out-hit, out-pitched, and out-played the Tigers on every level. Despite Detroit’s seemingly unstoppable bats, every time the ball went to the bullpen, the Orioles made it known why they have the best bullpen in baseball. Trade-deadline acquisition Andrew Miller has made it known why Baltimore shipped out their second-best pitching prospect for him; in every outing this postseason, he has yet to give up a hit. Zach Britton, the converted closer who earned 37 saves and a stunning 1.65 ERA in the regular season, continued to be dominant and earned two saves in the final two games. And despite not having three of their biggest bats, the Orioles continued to show why they were the team with the most home runs in the regular season. Nelson Cruz hit two home runs and has five RBI’s in twelve plate appearances. Nick Markakis picked up a homer and three RBI’s. And Delmon Young, the postseason veteran, has 3 RBI in four plate appearances, including a go-ahead 2-run double in the eighth inning of Game 2. Their batting order was well-rounded, their pitching was dominant, and their bullpen was lights-out.

That’s just good baseball.

The Orioles advance to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1997 and will face the Kansas City Royals beginning Friday night.

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Ben Sherbacow is a sophomore at Gettysburg College. He is from Avon, Connecticut, and aspires to be a sports writer for the Boston Red Sox someday. He covers baseball and baseball-related topics.

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1 Comment

  1. Very interesting and insightful! Keep them coming.

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