For the first time in 2014 the Baltimore Orioles find themselves in an elimination game situation. However if you’re reading that sentence without knowing the context of the season, you might think it’s do or die time. And you’d be right in a sense…it is do or die time – for Detroit. This afternoon the Orioles and Detroit will play game three of the ALDS at Comerica Park, with Bud Norris on the mound for the O’s.
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Initially of course it appeared that Miguel Gonzalez would be starting this game, but there are a few factors involved in Buck Showalter’s decision. Showalter said that there are several factors involved, however part of is due to the fact that Norris could turn around and work out of the bullpen if need be in a potential game five at Camden Yards. Norris also has a much lower ERA in night games as opposed to afternoon affairs. While today’s 3:45 start time is still in the afternoon, it’s much later than a possible noon or 1:30 PM start time if the series goes to game four tomorrow.
The Orioles will attempt to not fall victim to part of what lifted them on Thursday and Friday, that being a raucous home crowd. However while the fans in Detroit will no doubt be loud, I suspect that it’ll be a bit more subdue than what we saw at Oriole Park and Camden Yards. First off, The Lions are playing the Bills right across the street at Ford Field at 1 PM. (So Detroit sports fans have a bit of a decision to make today if they have tickets to both games.) However Detroit fans also know that their team is one loss away from elimination.
One might suggest that an enemy with nothing to lose is the most dangerous, and that could be a good point. However if the Orioles can put a couple of runs on the board against Detroit starter David Price this afternoon, they might all but take the crowd totally out of the game. Price of course was dealt from Tampa to Detroit at the trade deadline this past July.
The other news coming out of the Orioles is that if they’re able to wrap this series up quickly odds would be against Chris Davis being on the ALCS roster. That’s not overly surprising to me; if the O’s win today Davis would still have five games left on his suspension. In effect, it wouldn’t really make sense for the Birds to include him unless this series goes to five games given the fact that they’d have to play a man down until his suspension expires.
So yes, the Orioles find themselves in an elimination game today. An elimination game in which they could eliminate Detroit. The Birds obviously have a bit of wiggle room but as I said above it’s do or die time for Detroit. Obviously the big advantage that the Orioles have is the Detroit bullpen, which has come out of games one and two about as beat up as it could. In Price, the Birds will face their third-consecutive Cy Young award winner this afternoon. However perhaps the questions about the ‘pen lead manager Brad Ausmus to leave Price in for too long?
The O’s have three opportunities to win one game, starting this afternoon. Given their record in series’ and the fact that they avoided long losing streaks this season, I like their chances.