Tonight’s game: Orioles at Blue Jays, 5:00PM PT, TV: TBS
With nearly 500 home runs between them this season, these teams will probably give us a 2-1 nailbiter instead. The Orioles send RHP Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.77 ERA) out to do battle with the Jays’ RHP Marcus Stroman (9-10, 4.37 ERA).
Stroman led all qualified starters in MLB with a 60.1 percent ground-ball rate; nobody’s saying so, but it may be the Jays are hoping he can keep the Orioles from hitting long fly balls for homers. Tillman had a 1-0 mark and a 3.63 ERA in four starts against Toronto.
Tomorrow night’s game: Giants at Mets, 5:00PM PT, TV: ESPN
The Giants send LHP Madison Bumgarner (15-9, 2.79 ERA) to the mound at Citi Field to face the Mets’ RHP Noah Syndergaard (14-9, 2.60 ERA). The Mets were hot coming down the stretch: they had a .643 winning percentage from Sept. 1 on. Conversely, the Giants were awful the entire second half of the season: they were 30-42 after the All-Star break.
Orioles at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MASN 2
The Os send their Opening Day starter Chris Tillman (10-2, 3.71 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda (7-5, 2.82 ERA). Tillman has surrendered 14 earned runs in his last 14 2/3 innings, while Maeda has given up 6 earned runs in his last 17 1/3.
If you think Puig is hitting better than he has all year, well…”Yasiel Puig homered Monday and is currently hitting .381 in 13 games since returning from a DL stint due to a hamstring injury.”
Royals at Orioles, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: TBS
We have all read this a lot: “Baltimore hasn’t reached the Fall Classic since 1983; Kansas City last made it to the playoffs in 1985.” (Trivia: who did Baltimore play in 1983? Who did the Royals play? What were the results?)
That 1983 Series was broadcast on ABC. The announcers? Al Michaels, Howard Cosell and Earl Weaver, who had retired as manager of the Os after the 1982 season.
In 1985 ABC had the Series again, but Cosell was removed from the broadcast team because his recent book had criticized everybody he’d ever worked with. In his place was Tim McCarver, making his first World Series broadcasting appearance.
To today’s game, then. The Orioles start Chris Tillman, who was 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA during the regular season and 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in the ALDS against the Tigers. He went five innings in that game, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and striking out 6. The Royals go with James Shields, 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA in the regular season and 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in the ALDS against the Angels. He went six innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and striking out 6. Both teams have excellent bullpens and their managers are unafraid to use them.
The conventional narrative for this series seems to be “Royals run, Orioles bash.” We’ll see.
Tigers at Orioles, 2:30PM PT, TV: TBS
Royals at Angels, 6:00PM PT, TV: TBS
The Os-Tigers matchup appears at first to come down to whether the Tigers’ pitching, starting with Max Scherzer tonight, can hold down the Orioles’ penchant for home runs (they were the only team to hit over 200 dingers this season in either league). Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles.
The hook for the Angels-Royals game tonight is that the starters were college teammates at Long Beach State back in 2004 and took the 49ers to the Super Regionals in the runup to the College World Series. The Angels send out Jared Weaver while the Royals counter with Jason Vargas.