SSG Baseball – Divisional Series begin…….
Respective champions of each of the six divisional have had time to take stock and rest after the gruelling 162 game schedule while the wild card winners have played one game extra to make it to the divisional series.
Today we see the junior circuit kick things off.
Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays
Probable Starters: Lynn (12-10, 3.67 ERA) v Sale (12-6, 2.84 ERA)
Texas Rangers @ Minnesota Twins
Probable Starters: Darvish (13-7, 3.41 ERA) v Arrieta (13-12, 4.52 ERA)
The Orioles face off against divisional foes the Blue Jays in the Rogers Center. The Blue Jays finished 16 games ahead of the Orioles in the standings and were 12-7 against their opponents in 2017.
After using Greinke in the wild card win over the Royals it is likely we will see Lance Lynn take the ball for Baltimore while Chris Sale with an AL leading 2.84 ERA is rested and ready for Toronto, Sale also boasts a 0.96 WHIP after walking just 34 in the season and allowing 148 hits in 190 innings.
Toronto’s bats have a high pedigree, five of their starters have hit over 20 home runs this season and scored an AL high 754 runs and hit 192 HR (2nd), while Baltimore do have three players who hit more HR’s than the Blue Jays but rank 6th in runs scored and their starters ranked 14th in ERA.
In the other game today the Rangers travel to Minnesota, both teams have quietly gone about their business this season under the leadership of GM’s Gabri and McAvoy.
The Rangers look to send Yu Darvish to the mound for game 1, Darvish second only to Sonny Gray in strikeouts this season (207 in 203 innings) but he hasn’t won since September 1st and has allowed 15 runs in his last 4 starts. Jake Arrieta starts for the Twins (ranked 5th in AL in ERA) and has been a little up and down in his last five starts, looking impressive against Padres, Yankees and Spider but falling short against the Tigers and Royals.
Offensively both sides are among the leaders but score their runs different, the Rangers hit the long ball (chicks dig it) 218 leading the AL this season where the Twins manufacture their runs through situational hitting and the stolen base, it’s an intriguing matchup.
The Rangers have advantage offensively, the Twins have the advantage with their arms.