First of all, the Tigers have a huge advantage going in, and it has nothing to do with starting pitching. The Orioles will be without the services of three of their best position players. Manny Machado and Matt Wieters are out for the season with injuries, and slugger Chris Davis still has 8 games to go on his "drug" suspension.
Davis was slapped with a 25 game suspension a while back for using, of all things, Adderall. That particular medicine is used in treating ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The symptoms can range from a short attention span, to constantly fidgeting, and even narcolepsy.
But in their post-steroids witchhunt overreach, Major League Baseball has deemed Adderall a banned substance.
Unless one gets permission to use it. Davis had that permission last year from MLB but, oops, he forgot to ask pretty please for a renewal of his MLB prescription, used it anyway, because his symptoms haven't changed and likely never will -- so he got busted. It was OK last year, but not this year? And only because he didn't ask for permission? Hypocrisy anyone?
Nevertheless, a short attention span might be a good thing in baseball. If a player strikes out while at bat or makes an error in the field -- best to forget about it and move on.
And it's certainly understandable why a batter might be fidgety in the batter's box when a potential 100 MPH fastball might be heading his way in a couple seconds. But a sudden attack of narcolepsy? Imagine.....
The game is tied in the bottom of the ninth. Bases loaded. Two outs. The count is 3-2. Here comes the windup, the runners are off and -- wait a minute -- Chris Davis is taking a nap on home plate. Good luck trying to sort that out. Methinks it would have been a lot simpler to let the dude have his meds.
Though the Orioles will have home field advantage in this series, somewhat surprisingly, the Tigers had a better record on the road than at home this year. And c'mon, home court, ice, or field might juice up players in basketball, hockey, or football, but it really means little in baseball. That's likely because there's no such thing as momentum in MLB. There's typically 20-30 seconds between every pitch and even when a ball is hit, the play lasts for only 10 seconds or so -- then it's back to the same plodding pace. Fans may jump up and scream when one of their home town heroes hits a home run, but after it's over, they usually have enough time to reload with hot dogs and beer before something else happens. The nature of the game features a lot of things -- but momentum isn't one of them.
Back to the match-up itself. As mentioned above, the Tigers go in with a huge advantage due to a few Orioles players not being available. Removing Machado, Wieters, and Davis from the equation might be akin to the Tigers being without Ian Kinsler, and a Martinez or two. Had that been the case for a while, the Tigers might well have not won their division at all.
Yet somehow, the Orioles not only persevered, but actually finished 6 full games ahead of the Tigers at the end of the regular season. That's a bunch.
Prediction. Methinks the Tigers will dispatch the Orioles. Who wins the wild card play-in game between KC and Oakland doesn't matter. Either will fall to the LA Angels in a 7 game playoff.
So it will be Ye Olde English D's taking on the Halos for a shot at the World Series.
And that's where it ends for the Tigers. The fact the Angels finished a whopping 8 games ahead of the Tigers, for the best record in all of MLB, is no coincidence. Top to bottom, they're a superior club.
Food for thought for Tigers' fans -- who do you think most of the talking heads, deep-pocketed sponsors, and other movers and shakers would rather see in the World Series? Your team, or one from LA? Do you think they'd prefer to talk about Miguel Cabrera, a Venezuelan, or Mike Trout, the All-American boy?
But the playoffs are the playoffs. Anything can happen.
Let the games begin......