Jim Bowden and Dan Szymborski set the table for the Tigers-Orioles American League Division Series. Bowden lays out which team has the edge among starting pitchers and in the various facets of the game, and then adds his series prediction. Szymborski follows up with the most relevant stats leading into the series and the ZiPS game-by-game projections.
Who has the edge?
Game 1 starters: Jason Vargas versus Jered Weaver. Vargas finished the season with four poor starts, not getting past the sixth inning in any of them and yielding at least four earned runs in all of them. He had very little command or late life on any of his pitches. Also worth noting: His previous start against the Angels, his former team, was on June 27, when he got knocked around for nine hits and six earned runs in four innings . . . Weaver is the Angels' ace, and he tied for the AL lead with 34 starts and 18 wins. He uses his secondary pitches more than ever, which has helped him increase his strikeout rate, compared with that of the past two seasons. Edge: Angels.