Series: 1-0, Kansas City
Time/Place: 4:00 p.m., Camden Yards
Pitching Matchup: RHP Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.20 ERA) vs. RHP Bud Norris (15-8, 3.65 ERA)
The Royals took the first game of the series on Friday night by hitting a pair of home runs in the top of the tenth inning to give them a three-run lead. The Orioles were able to rally in the bottom half and get Delmon "Mr. October" Young to the plate, who singled in a run. But his teammates couldn't keep it up and they dropped Game 1 8-6. Both starters were chased relatively early as Chris Tillman allowed four runs in the third inning, getting yanked after allowing a fifth in the fifth inning. James Shields lasted through the fifth, allowing four runs. Royals reliever Brandon Finnegan allowed the tying run to score in the sixth inning, and the score would remain tied at five until the tenth inning fireworks. Surprisingly, the powerless Royals knocked three home runs in the game, while the powerhouse Orioles failed to leave the park. Baseball, eh?
The rookie Ventura is coming off an excellent outing in ALDS Game 2, in which he held the Angels to five singles and only one run over seven innings. Ventura faced the Orioles twice early in the year, combining for 14-1/3 innings and allowing two runs while striking out 17.
Norris is getting bumped up in the rotation after keeping the Tigers' bats silent through 6-1/3 in the do-or-die Game 3 in Comerica Park. He has owned the Royals in somewhat limited action, holding them to a .224/.274/.224 line with no extra base hits in 64 plate appearances. He's looking to do a better job at keeping the Royals from leaving the cozy confines of Camden Yards.
Time/Place: 8:00 p.m., Busch Stadium
Pitching Matchup: LHP Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98 ERA) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (20-9, 2.38 ERA)
The NLCS kicks off with a heavyweight matchup between two of the best right-handers in the league. Neither offense will wow you, so this one looks to be a battle of attrition. I don't expect too many Tigers fans are very interested in the outcome of this game, but it's either watch this or watch Brady Hoke's crew desperately try to figure out which sport they're playing, right?
Bumgarner pitched a shutout in the NL wild card game, slamming the door on the Pirates' dream of postseason glory. He followed it up with a hard-luck loss in Game 3 of the NLDS, allowing three runs, two earned, over seven innings against the Nationals. The last time he faced the Cards he lasted only five innings and allowed four runs, two of them on a first-inning home run by our friend Jhonny Peralta. He's got good numbers against them lifetime, though, and that home run from Peralta was his first hit off of Bumgarner.
Wainwright did not look good in his NLDS start against the Dodgers. He gave up 11 hits and six runs while only recording 13 outs. Luckily for him, his offense was able to bail him out, putting up an 8-spot on Clayton Kershaw and adding another pair of runs on the Dodgers' bullpen to secure a 10-9 win. Wainwright has a well-established history against the Giants hitters, allowing a .652 OPS in 231 career plate appearances. But watch out for Andre Ethier, who's hit three doubles and three home runs against the righty in 42 trips.