American League Championship Series Game 1: Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles
Date/Time: October 10, 8:07 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: KC: James Shields (0-0, 0.00) v. BAL: Chris Tillman (0-0, 0.00)
Moneyline: Baltimore -127
It’s a special time to be a Kansas City Royals fan or a Baltimore Orioles fan. For the first time since 1985, the Royals are in the American League Championship Series, while the Orioles are making their first ALCS appearance since 1997. One of those two teams will make it to the World Series. The Royals won the World Series in 1985, while the Orioles have not won one since 1983. Game 1 will go a long way in deciding who represents the AL in the World Series. In MLB history, the winner of Game 1 wins the series 62.7 percent of the time, while the winner in the “semifinal”, or League Championship Series round, is 34-22 all-time.
James Shields will make his third postseason start in Game 1. Shields started the AL Wild Card game for the Royals and his offense bailed him out after a five-inning start with four runs allowed on five hits. Shields fared much better in his second start, a quality outing against the Los Angeles Angels in Kansas City’s series-clinching win in Game 3 of the ALDS. Shields threw six innings and gave up two runs. Shields wrapped up the regular season with a 14-8 record and a 3.21 ERA. Shields lowered his ERA from 3.70 to 3.21 over his final 14 starts.
Chris Tillman was spectacular over the final four months of the season and threw five solid innings in his first career playoff start. Tillman gave up two runs on four hits with six strikeouts against the Detroit Tigers. Both runs scored on solo home runs. Tillman threw 73 strikes out of his 105 pitches, but his outing was cut short because of the sheer number of foul balls that the Tigers had. Tillman was 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA. He had a 5.20 ERA after 13 starts, but posted a 2.38 ERA in his final 21 outings.
Shields, the former Tampa Bay Ray, is 11-7 with a 3.52 ERA in 26 career starts against the Orioles. Shields faced the Orioles twice this season and beat them both times, holding the Orioles to just five runs on 12 hits over 14 innings of work. The Royals were 21-13 in Shields’s 34 regular season starts and are 2-0 in his two postseason starts.
Tillman is 2-2 with a 6.21 ERA in five career starts against the Royals. In his lone start against the Royals this season, Tillman fired a complete game shutout and scattered five hits. The Orioles were 24-10 in Tillman’s 34 regular season starts for a profit of over 15 units and won in his lone postseason start.
Free MLB Pick: Kansas City Royals
This should be an excellent series with two of the league’s top defensive teams and two very solid bullpens. Tillman had a little bit more trouble with lefties than he did righties and the Royals will be sending quite a few left-handed bats at him. It’s a very marginal difference, but this should be a tight series throughout and every little thing could be worth an edge.