The baseball playoffs continued to deliver last night with another ridiculously dramatic game. I had some trepidation wagering against the Cardinal magic, and it turned out to be a fair premonition. The Cards won on a Koltin Wong walk-off and snapped my nice postseason winning streak. We will try to get things properly rolling again tonight at the ALCS shifts scene to Kansas City where a feverish and raucous crowd certainly awaits.
Let’s dive into Game Three and see if we can come away with a winning edge.
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Today’s Free Pick:
American League Championship Series – Game Three @ Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
Baltimore Orioles -110 at Kansas City Royals +102 (Total: 7.5)
Wei-Yin Chen vs. Jeremy Guthrie
This is a near must-win game for the Baltimore Orioles, who enter tonight in a 2-0 hole after dropping the first two games of the series at home. Only one team in the history of baseball has come back from a 3-0 deficit and with the mojo the Royals are carrying, I don’t think Baltimore wants to have to win two straight in Kansas City to start off the miracle run.
The pressure-packed test falls to Baltimore’s third starter, Wei-Yin Chen who struggled in his first postseason start. However, he did pitch well in two matchups with the Royals this season. But I am concerned with his last three starts, scattered over an odd rest schedule. He has lasted only 15.2 innings and brings an ERA of 5.42 and a WHIP of 1.42.
Meanwhile, despite pedestrian regular season numbers, Jeremy Guthrie enters tonight on fire. He is a perfect 3-0 with a near-perfect 0.42 ERA in his last three starts. His WHIP is a microscopic 0.79 and he is averaging more than six innings pitched – which is the recipe for Royal success; get into the 7th and hand the ball over the their lights-out backend of the ‘pen.
Let’s face it, these Royals are dialed in. They were last in the league in homerun but have been slugging them with the best of them in the postseason. And they still have blistering speed and the ability to seemingly manufacture a big run at will. However, the most underrated aspect of their incredible run has been their phenomenal defense. They are making plays all over the place and taking away runs. It frustrated the Angels and is starting to have the same effect on the O’s. Look for Guthrie to give his defense a chance to win the game – and for them to do just that.
The law of average seems to suggest the Orioles bounce back. This Royals offense, pitching and defense defy averages. It’s hard to bet against a team playing this well returning home to play in front of a fevered and frenzied home crowd. Give me the Royals magic to continue, and at a very nice price as well.