In Kansas City, expect the Royals and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to score more than 7 runs in game three of this American League Division Series; take it at 1.75.
Momentum is strongly on the Royals side in this Sunday contest. After all, Kansas City went on the road and took two straight from the Angels in extra innings. Nevertheless, I’m leery at the prospect of flat out taking the Royals to attain the sweep here. The reason: the club’s starting pitcher James Shields has just been horrible in the post-season.
In three playoff starts since 2010, the veteran has given up fifteen runs in 14 1/3 innings. In his most recent post-season outing -- in the American League Wild Card Game against the Oakland A’s -- Shields lasted just five innings while giving up four runs. Shields and his team may very well get the win here, but he’s unlikely to do it without taking some run scoring shots against an Angels’ team that led the AL in run scoring during the regular season.
Even more likely than a poor outing from Shields is a shaky performance from Angels’ starter C.J. Wilson. The left-hander has endured a most disappointing season as evidenced by his 4.51 ERA. For our purposes, what’s particularly notable about that statistic is that the vast number of his poor performances have come on the road. In away games, he was 4-8 with a 5.31 ERA (while he was a much more impressive 9-2 with a 3.82 ERA at home).
Take the Detroit Tigers, on at 1.52, to win at home versus the Baltimore Orioles in the third game of their AL Division Series.
I’m starting with my gut on this one, which says it’s just too unlikely that the Tigers, who have constructed such a good team, will bow out of this post season in three straight losses to the Orioles. To back that up with some empirical support, I give you David Price. The former Cy Young Award winner’s superficial stats after he was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to Detroit weren’t overly impressive (4-4 with a 3.59 ERA). But his Fielding Independent Pitching, which is scaled like ERA but does a better job of calculating true performance is far more encouraging. Price delivered a 2.44 FIP during his eleven starts for Detroit. This suggests that he’s had some bad luck and is due for success.
By the same metric, Baltimore’s starter Bud Norris has been pitching above his weight. He had a solid 3.65 ERA but his FIP is a less sturdy 4.22. Norris also had a wobbly track record versus the Tigers in 2014. In two starts against Detroit this year, he was 0-2 with a 6.39 ERA.