American League Division Series Game 1: Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
Date/Time: October 2, 5:37 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: DET: Max Scherzer (0-0, 0.00) v. BAL: Chris Tillman (0-0, 0.00)
Moneyline: Detroit -114
The Detroit Tigers are hoping that the fourth time is the charm as they embark on their fourth consecutive postseason journey. The Baltimore Orioles are back in the postseason for the second time in three years following their first division title since 1997. Two of the American League’s top pitchers down the stretch run face off in Game 1 from Oriole Ballpark at Camden Yards when Max Scherzer goes up against Chris Tillman.
Scherzer, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, would certainly be in the running again this season if not for a 10-run start against Kansas City that added almost 0.30 runs to his ERA. Scherzer’s ERA jumped 0.79 points in that one start and he ended the year with an 18-5 record and a 3.15 ERA. Scherzer tied Corey Kluber for the most wins in the AL and finished third to teammate David Price and Kluber in strikeouts. After the 10-run disaster on June 17, Scherzer was 10-2 with a 2.58 ERA over his final 18 starts. The Tigers were a perfect 5-0 in Scherzer’s five September starts to secure their fourth straight division title. Scherzer is 4-2 in 11 postseason appearances, nine starts, with a 3.42 ERA.
Like Scherzer, Tillman ended the season on a tremendous run. On June 5, Tillman was 5-2 with an ugly 5.20 ERA. He ended the season 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA. Over his final 21 starts, he was 8-4 with a 2.38 ERA. He allowed four or more runs just three times in those 21 starts. From the All-Star Break to his second-to-last start, Tillman was a perfect 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA and the Orioles were 11-2 in his 13 starts. One concern entering the postseason is that opposing batters had a .252 BABIP over Tillman’s 21-start stretch to end the season, which is low for a pitcher with his strikeout rate. Tillman is making his first career playoff start.
Scherzer is 3-1 with a 3.92 ERA in six career starts against the Orioles. Scherzer did not face the Orioles in 2014, but he was 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts in 2013 with 20 strikeouts in 14 innings. The Tigers are 24-9 for a profit of 11.93 units in Scherzer’s 33 starts, which ranks sixth among all starters.
Tillman is 3-0 with a 3.58 ERA in six career starts against the Tigers. He threw 8.1 excellent innings with one run allowed in a win earlier this season. The Orioles are 24-10 in Tillman’s 34 starts for a profit of 15.20 units, the second-best mark among all starters.
Free MLB Pick: Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles don’t have the big names that the Tigers do, but the Tigers limped to their finish line with a banged-up Miguel Cabrera and a patchwork bullpen. The Orioles were one of two AL teams with at least 50 wins at home and the home crowd should be ready to go for this one. Scherzer is an elite starter, but the postseason magnifies bullpens and defense, two areas where Baltimore has a decided advantage.