AL Wild Card Game: Previews and Predictions

blue-jays-orioles-picks

Update – Blue Jays defeat Orioles 5-2 on Edwin Encarnacion’s walk off 3 run HR

Bottom 11th

Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays

Starting Pitchers

Orioles

Chris Tillman (172.0 IP, 3.77 ERA, 140 K)

Blue Jays

Marcus Stroman (204.0 IP, 4.37 ERA, 166 K)

It doesn’t bode well for the Blue Jays that Marcus Stroman’s final start was not an encouraging one, as he gave up an acceptable 4 runs in 7.0 innings pitched, but also surrendered 9 hits and struck out only 2 batters. On the Orioles’ side of things, Chris Tillman showed similar red flags in his last start of the regular season. He gave up 6 hits and 3 walks in just 5.2 innings pitched, however he still managed to hold the opposition to a single earned run, which is at least somewhat encouraging. Both team’s offenses have done well against their opposing pitcher, but we’ll get to that later. As far as comparing these starting on paper, Tillman gets the nod.

Advantage: Orioles

10/4 6:42 pm Update: Bot 5 – Chris Tillman’s night over after 4.1 innings, giving up 2 ER while striking out 4

10/4 7:00pm Update: Top 7- Stroman wraps up a solid outing, giving up 2 ER with 6 Ks over 6 innings.

Projected Lineups


527875156-the-baltimore-orioles-adam-jones-right-gettyimages

Baltimore

  1. Adam Jones (CF) – .265/.310/.436, 29 HR, 83 RBI
  2. Hyun Soo Kim (LF) – .302/.382/.420, 23 XBH
  3. Manny Machado (3B) – .294/.343/.533, 37 HR, 96 RBI
  4. Mark Trumbo (DH) – .256/.316/.533, 47 HR, 108 RBI
  5. Matt Wieters (C) – .243/.302/.409, 17 HR, 66 RBI
  6. Chris Davis (1B) – .221/.322/.459, 38 HR, 84 RBI
  7. Jonathan Schoop (2B) – .267/.298/.454, 25 HR, 82 RBI
  8. Michael Bourn (RF) – .264/.314/.371, 24 XBH, 15-for-20 SB
  9. JJ Hardy (SS) – .269/.309/.407, 9 HR, 48 RBI

10/4 6:07pm Update: Top 4 – Mark Trumbo goes yard for a 2-run homer

bautista-and-encarnacion

Toronto

  1. Devon Travis (2B) – .300/.332/.454, 40 XBH (11 HR)
  2. Josh Donaldson (3B) – .284/.404/.549, 37 HR, 99 RBI
  3. Edwin Encarnacion (1B) – .263/.357/.529, 42 HR, 127 RBI
  4. Jose Bautista (RF) – .234/.366/.452, 22 HR, 69 RBI
  5. Russell Martin (C) – .231/.335/.398, 20 HR, 74 RBI
  6. Troy Tulowitzki (SS) – .254/.318/.443, 24 HR, 79 RBI
  7. Michael Saunders (DH) – .253/.338/.478, 59 XBH (24 HR)
  8. Kevin Pillar (CF) – .266/.303/.376, 44 XBH, 14-for-20 SB
  9. Ezequiel Carrera (LF) – .248/.323/.356, 16 XBH (6 HR)

10/4 5:55pm Update: Bot 2 – Jose Bautista gets it going early with a solo HR to left 

10/4 6:40pm Update: Bot 5 – Ezequiel Carrera ties things up at 2 with an RBI single

10/4 8:35pm Update: Bot 11 – Edwin Encarnacion finishes things with a walk-off 3-run HR

Benches

Baltimore

Pedro Alvarez (DH) – .249/.322/.504, 22 HR

Ryan Flaherty (UT) – .217/.291/.318, 10 XBH, 0.6 DWAR

Caleb Joseph (C) – .174/.216/.197, 0.3 DWAR

Trey Mancini (1B) – .357/.400/.1.071, 3 HR, 5 GP

Nolan Reimold (OF)  – .222/.300/.365, 6 HR

Drew Stubbs (CF) – .225/.330/.338, 3 HR, 9-for-10 SB

Toronto

Darwin Barney (UT) – .269/.322/.373, 19 XBH, 1.3 DWAR

Ryan Goins (IF) – .186/.228/.306, 14 XBH, 0.5 DWAR

Dioner Navarro (C) – .207/.265/.322, 21 XBU (6 HR)

Donald Pompey (CF) – 0-for-2 AB, 3 R, 2-for-3 SB

Justin Smoak (1B) – .217/.314/.391, 14 HR

Melvin Upton Jr. – .238/.291/402, 20 HR, 27-for-35 SB

This is going to be a game of power. One look at these lineups will tell the story of why these teams made the Postseason. Offense is the strength of both teams, with the Orioles ahead in the power department, and the Blue Jays have the edge in terms of on base percentage. The Blue Jays’ offense has been especially potent as of late, and it doesn’t hurt that nine of their batters (eight of whom are starting tonight) are batting .300 or better when facing Tillman. Both teams are well-endowed offensively, with the Orioles leading the league in home runs, and the Blue Jays not far behind (ranking fourth). Baltimore has the deeper bench if you value power, while Toronto has better baserunners to call upon. Benches rarely play much of a role in American League games anyways, so I’ll be surprised to see many reserve players enter this game. I expect plenty of offense from both sides, but Toronto seems to have the edge here. If I were a betting man, I’d say the Blue Jays offense is going to be loud tonight.

Advantage: Toronto

Bullpens

Division Series - Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles - Game Two

All-Star Closer – Zach Britton

Baltimore

LRP Dylan Bundy (RHP) – 109.2 IP, 4.02 ERA, 104 K

LRP Ubaldo Jimenez (RHP) – 25 GS, 142.1 IP, 5.44 ERA, 125 K

RP Brad Brach (RHP) – 79.0 IP, 2.09 ERA, 92 K

RP Mychal Givens (RHP) – 74.2 IP, 3.13 ERA, 96 K

RP Brian Duensing (LHP) – 13.1 IP, 4.05 ERA, 10 K

RP Donnie Hart (LHP) – 18.1 IP, 0.49 ERA, 12 K

RP Tommy Hunter (RHP) – 34.0 IP, 3.18 ERA, 23 K

RP Darren O’Day (RHP) – 31.0 IP, 3.77 ERA, 38 K

CP Zach Britton (LHP) – 67.0 IP, 0.54 ERA, 74 K

Toronto Blue Jays open a three game series against the Tampa Bay Rays with a 5-3 win

Blue Jays Closer – Roberto Osuna

Toronto

LRP Marco Estrada (RHP) – 176.0 IP, 3.48, 165 K

LRP Francisco Liriano (LHP) – 163.0 IP, 4.69 ERA, 168 K

RP Joe Biagini (RHP) – 67.2 IP, 3.06 ERA, 62 K

RP Brett Cecil (RHP – 36.2 IP, 3.93 ERA, 45 K

RP Scott Feldman (RHP) – 77.0 IP, 3.97 ERA, 56 K

RP Jason Grilli (RHP) – 59.0 IP, 4.12 ERA, 81 K

RP Aaron Loup (LHP) – 14.1 IP, 5.02 ERA, 15 K

RP Ryan Tepera (RHP) 18.1 IP, 2.95 ERA, 18 K

CP Roberto Osuna (RHP) – 74.0 IP, 2.68 ERA, 82 K

Do not expect a pitching duel today, but rather a batting practice session to determine who advances in the playoffs. As you can see, neither team has a frontline, ace-type of starter for this game. While both bullpens looks pretty good on paper, they have both struggled greatly as of late. Toronto in particular has had major bullpen issues, with Jason Grilli, Danny Barnes, Joe Biagini, and Brett Cecil all falling out of rhythm at the same time. To make things worse, Joaquin Benoit (0.38 ERA in 23.2 IP for Toronto) is hurt and unable to play, and opposing batters are hitting .333 off of closer Roberto Osuna in the final week of regular season play. For Baltimore, only Brad Brach has shown any sign of weakness in the Orioles’ bullpen.

Advantage: Orioles

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