Beginning Thursday, the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles will face off in the American League Divisional Series. This marks Detroit’s 4th straight ALDS appearance and Baltimore’s 2nd appearance in the past three years.
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And though the talk of the town is these two club’s pitching staffs, with names such as Max Scherzer, David Price, Bud Norris, and Chris Tillman set to take the hill during this series it’s hard not to get excited about the pitching matchups. But the real attention should be put on the offenses these two teams bolster, which were among baseball’s elite during the 2014 season.
Baltimore’s usual lineup looks something like this, courtesy of Rant Sports.
1. Nick Markakis, RF
2. Alejandro De Aza, LF
3. Adam Jones, CF
4. Nelson Cruz, DH
5. Steve Pearce, 1B
6. J.J. Hardy, SS
7. Ryan Flaherty, 3B
8. Johnathan Schoop, 2B
9. Caleb Joesph, C
You’re probably looking at that lineup and saying ‘who?’ And it’s okay, outside of Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones, the O’s don’t have a star-studded lineup, but their offensive numbers are more than worthy of praise.
In 2014, the Orioles hit 211 HR’s, the most in baseball.
Aside from clobbering the most longballs in the big leagues, Baltimore collected…
- 705 runs, which is 8th best in baseball
- A collective .256 AVG
- 681 RBI, good for 7th place out of the 30 MLB teams
Mind you, this was all done without the services of Manny Machado and Matt Wieters for a good chunk of the year; Wieters only played 26 games before having to undergo Tommy John Surgery. It’s also worth noting that Chris Davis is currently serving a 25 games suspension for drug violations.
Who the Tigers need to avoid: Nelson Cruz
Jun 27, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nelson Cruz (23) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Rays 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY
Let’s take a somber trip down memory lane…it’s 2011 and the Tigers are facing the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship. To make a long story short, Nelson Cruz, then with the Rangers, tore up Tigers pitching like a dog tears up a brand new chew toy. Cruz went 8-for-22 with 13 RBIs, 6 HR’s, and just four strikeouts. And after leading the major with 40 HR’s in 2014, Cruz has the ability to sink Detroit with the swing of a bat.
Detroit’s usual lineup looks something like this…
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Torii Hunter, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. J.D. Martinez, LF
6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Eugenio Suarez, SS
9. Rajai Davis, CF
The Detroit lineup hit a collective .277 in 2014, the best in baseball.
Besides having an incredibly high team batting average, Detroit…
- hit 155 HR’s, 9th most in the big leagues
- scored 757 runs, 2nd most in MLB
- collected 731 RBI’s, 2nd most in MLB
It’s no secret that the Detroit Tigers sport a powerful, star-studded lineup, featuring a two-time MVP in Miguel Cabrera and consistent sluggers in Ian Kinsler (.275 BA) and JD Martinez (.315 BA), Motown’s lineup is an absolute force.
Who the Orioles need to avoid: Victor Martinez
May 30, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) hits a three-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
If it wasn’t for a guy named Mike Trout, Victor Martinez would be the AL MVP this season. 32 HR, 103 RBI, and only 42 strikeouts; Martinez had a monstrous year. He is just a genuine hitter that always seems to pull through when his team needs him most; not to mention he has the postseason experience that will prove to be vital. His 2014 vs. the Orioles were very good; 8-for-24 with 1 HR and 2 doubles. Who knows, Martinez might be the most hated man in Baltimore by the time the ALDS is over.
Prepare for a fireworks show, because when these two lineups face off, it’ll definitely be an offensive spectacle.