To me, the matchup between the Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Division Series is a contrast of strengths and weaknesses. I see the Tigers' starting pitching as a strength, and their bullpen as a weakness. I see the Orioles bullpen as a strength, and their starting pitching as a weakness.
The Orioles are much stronger defensively, but the Tigers have more overall power. Experience is on the Tigers' side. Some people are dismissing that aspect, but it could be factor in a closer series.
|Max Scherzer, Brad Ausmus|
Last year I picked the Tigers in five over Oakland in the ALDS and the Red Sox in six over the Tigers in the ALCS. I had a pretty good feel about what was going to happen in those series, and was right. In this series, I am not certain about anything. No outcome would surprise me. It's not like the Orioles starting pitching is that bad, nor the Tigers' bullpen not capable at all of coming through. Power is a fickle element. It comes and goes. Will the Tigers slug the ball (not just home runs, but doubles) in this series? The Orioles have some power, too.
I'm picking the Tigers in five because I like their odds in a Game 5, even in Baltimore, because of starting Max Scherzer on the mound. I do like the fact they have been through this before and their ability to bounce back, which they displayed during the regular season often, and because of the individual motivation of many of their top players (see column below).
My column: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20141001/pat-caputo-collectively-individually-detroit-tigers-have-much-to-prove-this-mlb-postseason/1