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Five reasons why the Tigers will beat the Orioles in the ALDS (and a few why they won't)

Here are five reasons the Tigers will beat Baltimore in the ALDS, and a few advantages that the Orioles have over Detroit.

Who is this man, and how does he impact the ALDS?
Who is this man, and how does he impact the ALDS?
Mark A. Cunningham

SB Nation 2014 MLB Bracket

The predictions are coming in, the ballots are being counted, and soon, a pre-game winner will be declared in the American league division series between the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles. Being an optimist, I like to look at things from the bright side. So, here are five good reasons why the Tigers will win the ALDS.

1.  They already have.  Won the season series, that is, five games to one. In fact, it wasn’t particularly close, with the Tigers outscoring the Orioles, 33 runs to 20. The lone Baltimore win was the Tigers’ first loss of the season, and their last against Baltimore. The game really shouldn’t have counted, because the replay system wasn’t working.

2.  Rotation, rotation, rotation. The Tigers have three Cy Young winners, and the best rotation in the league, according to WAR. The Orioles ranked 14th of 15 rotations. Tigers’ starters have a better strikeout rate, lower walk rate, and much lower home run ratio than the Orioles.

3. Offense. The Tigers’ lineup led the American league in batting average by 14 points over their nearest rival, and by 21 points over the Orioles. They also led the league in on base percentage, slugging percentage, sacrifice flies,OPS, wOBA, and wRC+. The Tigers even stole 106 bases to the Orioles’ 44 bags.

4. Dingers. While the Orioles led the major leagues in home runs this season, the Tigers rotation allowed the fewest home runs of any team in the show, just 0.75 per nine innings. Baltimore starters gave up 1.03 home runs per nine frames. Their rotation of Gonzalez, Chen, Tillman, and Norris each allowed at least 20 home runs this season.

5. The curse of Mickey Tettleton. Tigers’ fans have waited since 1984 for a World Series championship. Orioles fans have waited a year longer. In fact, Baltimore hasn’t won a playoff series since 1983, 1997 being knocked out  in each of the three seasons that they made a playoff appearance, and winning just one division title in a 30 year span, until this year. That’s why you don’t trade Mickey Tettleton for Jeff Robinson.

Give the Orioles some credit. They did win their division, even if it was the weakest division in the league. They did beat up on the aging Yankees and the sinking Red Sox. There are a few advantages that they have going into this series.

1. Relief. Okay, so the Tigers bullpen has been a dumpster fire all season, and the O’s did find a solid closer in Zach Britton. But he’s been closing games for like half an hour while Joe Nathan has been doing it forever. Besides, the Tigers have Soria and Sanchez back, so Brad Ausmus can..... we’ll put this down as a maybe.

2. Defense. The Orioles have the top ranked defense in the American league, with 49 defensive runs saved. They have a plus defender at every position on the field. The Tigers rank 13th with a negative 69 runs saved. Detroit has Ian Kinsler and maybe Alex Avila on the plus side. The O’s win this match up in seven positions, the Tigers one, and one tie. Detroit’s right fielder and third baseman are dead last in the league defensively. Detroit pitchers would do well to rack up a lot of strikeouts.

3. Crab cakes. Maryland has better crab cakes.

One final observation, although it may not show up directly on the playoff scoreboard, is that the Tigers have better TV announcers. The golden voice of Mario Impemba with the baseball pedigree of world champion Rod Allen trumps any glorified underwear salesman.

Advantage: Detroit