What a game. The Kansas City Royals will get to move on into the postseason and advance to the American League Division Series after defeating the Oakland Athletics 9-8 in 12 innings on Tuesday night. Now, they take on the AL's best Los Angeles Angels and they continue to fight in their first postseason birth since 1985. Here is my American League Division Series preview.
The Detroit Tigers over the Baltimore Orioles
Max Scherzer. Justin Verlander. Rick Porcello. David Price. The amount of aces the Tigers have with postseason experience is astounding. Their pitching staff has been solid all season long, but has come to the right place, the postseason, where pitching staffs thrive. While Verlander may be a question mark, I always feel that he comes up big in big games, regardless of how tough of a season he had. On the offensive, the Tigers boast Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, a one-two punch that is ridiculously hot right now.
The Orioles aren't that lucky when it comes to a fantastic pitching staff. They have Chris Tillman going in game one, a guy who had a good year. However, I'd rather have any Tigers starter over him. We don't know who will start the rest of the series yet, but Ubaldo Jimenez, Kevin Gausman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, or Miguel Gonzalez are their other starters. They do have a high flying offense, with the likes of Nelson Cruz (40 HR), but the Tigers staff could easily shut them down. Their offense appears to be their only hope right now.
The Los Angeles Angels over the Kansas City Royals
The Los Angeles Angels finished with the American League's best record, so they should get at least to the American League Championship Series. I'm very excited about seeing Mike Trout in the postseason, while Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton return to the big stage. The Angels attack is one of the most balanced, as a rotation with Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Matt Shoemaker, and Hector Santiago isn't too shabby either. Imagine if Garrett Richards wasn't hurt.
As for the Royals, it looks like they will be falling into a whole in game one with Jason Vargas on the hill against Weaver. They won't get James Shields back to pitch until game two or three, so that is a real liability, especially if he cannot start a game five. The Royals showed an exceptional amount of resilience in the Wild Card game, so that may be able to push them past the Angels. But other than that, things look bleak for the team from Kansas City.