ALDS Game 2 Preview: Orioles vs. Tigers

Sports and Bets — October 3, 2014 at 10:46 am by

After last night’s emphatic 12-3 win, the Birds have a chance to take a commanding lead in this best-of-five series. With today’s quick turnaround, the O’s could really use a boost from the hometown crowd. So tell your boss to go fuck himself, and let’s get rowdy! Even Buck was itching to get involved with the towel waving last night. (Skip to 1:33 to hear Buck talk about the crowd at yesterday’s game.)

Game 2: Today at 12:07 PM on TBS
Wei-Yin Chen LHP (16-6) vs. Justin Verlander RHP (15-12)
Chen’s Season Stats: 185.2 IP, 136 Ks, 3.54 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
Chen’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 17.2 IP, 13 Ks, 3.06 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
Verlander’s Season Stats: 206 IP, 159 Ks, 4.54 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
Verlander’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 21 IP, 16 Ks, 2.14 ERA, 1.10 WHIP

In the 2012 playoffs, Chen started Game 2 at home against the Yankees and pitched very well. He earned the win after allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits and a walk while striking out three over 6.1 innings. The Birds would gladly take another outing like that against this high-powered Detroit offense. Over two career starts against the Tigers, Chen is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, and has struck out nine batters over 11 innings. Both of those starts came during the 2012 season. With Detroit’s lineup heavy with right-handed bats, Chen is really going to have to bring his best stuff to the Yard this afternoon. On the season, Detroit is 1st in batting average, 2nd in on-base percentage, and 2nd in slugging against left-handed pitching.

Taking the mound for the Tigers will be amateur photographer and professional pitcher, Justin Verlander. Verlander is no stranger to giant fun bags or the big stage of playoff baseball.

In 15 career playoff starts, Verlander is 7-5 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, and has struck out 108 batters over 93.1 innings. Verlander has really struggled this season, posting his worst ERA, WHIP, and strikeout total since 2008. He’s also been a significantly worse pitcher on the road this season. In 14 home starts, Verlander has a 4.21 ERA, compared to a 4.82 ERA over 18 road starts. Verlander has thrown the ball better down the stretch, though. Over five September starts, he posted a 3.89 ERA, which was his best monthly ERA since April. Verlander has given the O’s fits over his career, as well. Over 15 career starts against the Birds, Verlander has gone 9-2 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while striking out 88 batters in 105 innings. This season, Verlander is 1-1 in two starts against the O’s with a 4.50 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, and has struck out seven batters over 14 innings.

Orioles Lineup with Career Numbers vs. Verlander
RF Nick Markakis (L) – 12-for-48
LF Alejandro De Aza (L) – 7-for-31 with 2 HRs
CF Adam Jones (R) – 6-for-33 with a HR
DH Nelson Cruz (R) – 7-for-31 with 3 HRs
1B Steve Pearce (R) – N/A
SS J.J. Hardy (R) – 8-for-34 with 3 HRs
3B Ryan Flaherty (L) – 2-for-8
C Caleb Joseph (R) – N/A
2B Jonathan Schoop (R) – 0-for-6

Projected Tigers Lineup with Career Numbers vs. Chen
2B Ian Kinsler (R) – 3-for-10
RF Torii Hunter (R) – 1-for-4
1B Miguel Cabrera (R) – 1-for-4
DH Victor Martinez (S) – N/A
LF J.D. Martinez (R) – N/A
3B Nick Castellanos (R) – N/A
CF Rajai Davis (R) – 1-for-3
SS Andrew Romine (R) – N/A
C Bryan Holaday (R) – N/A

Strengths to Watch

  • Nelson Cruz – This guy is an absolute stud. Last night, he went 2-for-4 with a HR, three RBIs, and two runs scored. In seven postseason games against the Tigers, Cruz is batting .417 with seven HRs, 16 RBIs, and nine runs scored.
  • Miguel Cabrera – Cabrera went 1-for-3 last night with a HR and a walk. Even though he’s coming off a season where he hit “only” 25 home runs, this guy is still as dangerous as any hitter in the league. In 53 career playoff games, Cabrera is batting .274/.367/.518 with 13 HRs and 38 RBIs. In 51 career games against the O’s, Cabrera is slashing .391/.467/.726 with 18 HRs and 53 RBIs.

Weaknesses to Watch

  • Detroit’s Bullpen – What a horrid showing by these slapdicks last night. Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria, and Phil Coke combined to surrender seven runs (six earned) over just 2/3 of an inning. This bullpen was 27th in the MLB for a reason, babes.
  • Detroit’s Defense – Last night, Andrew Romine and Rajai Davis made costly errors during the Birds’ eight run 8th inning. This is representative of a great stat that ESPN Stats & Info tweeted out yesterday. The “Tigers had defensive efficiency of .673 this season, tied for 2nd-lowest in MLB. Def. efficiency is pct of batted balls converted into outs.”

Enjoy the game, and let’s go O’s!

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