Max Scherzer walks off the mound in a tough game 1 loss.
With the first game of the ALDS, the Orioles and Tigers faced off in Camden Yards. The Orioles walked in with a 96-66 record, while Detroit ended the season 90-72. Baltimore had on the mound Chris Tillman, who had a good season of 13-6 and a 3.34 ERA. Detroit was starting last years Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer.
Scherzer did not have a Cy Young worthy season, or at least compared to last year, as he had a 3.15 ERA and a great 18-5 record (Last season with a 2.90 ERA and 21-3 record). Tonight, the Orioles were looking for him to pitch well, and go deep into the game. Well, Scherzer completed one of the two hopes, as he went 7 and a third innings. However, through the 7 innings, he let up 5 earned runs to the offense stacked Orioles.
In the first inning, Nelson Cruz started everything off with a two run home run to opposite field (387 feet). The Tigers backed up their pitcher with Victor and JD Martinez solo home runs in the 2nd, but Nick Markakis came right back for the O's with an RBI single to right field in the bottom of the 2nd. The score remained 3-2 until the 7th inning, when slugging short stop JJ Hardy of the O's hit a solo home run to left center. With the game still in reach for the Tigers, a key play occurred in the top of the 8th inning.
With Ian Kinsler on first, Torii Hunter ran up the count to 2-2, and smacked a hard line drive to left field. But there was one problem: The ball was smacked right towards JJ Hardy glove, who simply caught the ball. Of course, this would not have been as frustrating if Ian Kinsler had not been trying to steal second and was touching second when JJ caught the ball. Of course, this led to a double play and there were two outs in the 8th. On the very next pitch, Miguel Cabrera, the next batter, hit a home run to right center, which would have been game tying if not for the double play.
In the bottom of the 8th, Scherzer was losing control, and was taken out of the game. From there, with a man on second, and Joba Chamberlain (reliever) on the mound, everything fell apart for the Tigers. For the Tigers, who had a poor bullpen during the regular season, the reliever, Chamberlain and some poor defense let the game reach an insurmountable score of 12-3.
The Tigers needed a long and good start from Scherzer, who could not fulfill the hopes of the Detroit fans. As soon as Max came out of the game, the Orioles beat up on the weak bullpen and blew the game wide open. This poor play from the bullpen truly worries me for the rest of the post-season, as few teams, if any, can win Championships with a bad bullpen. The Tigers will need great starts from starters, who are known to be great in the past, but have had okay play (in their standards) this season (No one under 3.15 ERA). The offense of the Tigers will take care of itself, but their pitching, especially the bullpen, is something to worry about.
Baltimore will be starting off the post-season with a great win against Detroit, and look to continue their success tomorrow at noon. For Baltimore, they have a great offense full of power, and a pitching full of great relievers. However, the Orioles lack a truly great starter, with no one under a 3.20 ERA. None of their pitchers are bad, but no one is considered great. If the Orioles can continue to reach early leads, and blow up the Tigers bullpen, they will be in for a long, and great ride in the ALDS.