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ALCS Begins Friday, NLCS On Saturday

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 10/9/2014 11:29:33 PM

The Kansas City Royals celebrated their return to postseason play in style when they upset the Los Angeles Angels to reach the ALCS. Now this year’s Cinderella story will chase a World Series berth against a Baltimore Orioles’ team that was superior to them in nearly every way during the regular season. The NLCS match up isn’t nearly as lopsided on paper with the San Francisco Giants set to battle the St. Louis Cardinals in a battle of teams that always seem to save their best for October. Here is a quick look at what to expect in game one with both series’ set to begin this weekend.

ALCS – Game 1

Kansas City Royals @ Baltimore Orioles

Friday, 8:07 PM ET

Kansas City hasn’t played in an LCS since 1985 but while their playoff drought has been well documented the Orioles haven’t made an LCS since 1997 and are just as determined to reach the World Series. Buck Showalter has yet to name his game 1 starter but it’s most likely Chris Tillman who will get the start. The real story will be James Shields getting the nod against a powerful Baltimore lineup that roughed up a talented Detroit Tigers’ staff in the ALDS. Shields has allowed the most home runs out of any pitcher still playing this postseason and the Orioles have four different hitters with at least 15 home runs this season excluding Chris Davis who is injured. Shields posted a 2-0 record with a 3.21 ERA during the regular season but the Orioles’ offense has been excellent in the playoffs and there will be a lot more pressure on the veteran hurler on the road in game one of a league championship series.

Pick: Baltimore Orioles

NLCS – Game 1

San Francisco Giants @ St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, 8:00 PM ET

Two years ago the Giants and Cardinals clashed in an NLCS game 7 that sent San Francisco to a World Series and there is a good chance we could see that same level of drama as they meet again this year. Jake Peavy set the tone for the Giants in game one of their NLDS with a dominant performance in a 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals and they will turn to him again looking for the same thing on Saturday. Fortunately for Peavy the San Francisco offense is hot as well and the Giants are 4-1 in their last five games at Busch Stadium. That could continue as St. Louis sends Adam Wainwright back to the mound after he was dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bats in their NLDS opener. The Cardinals’ offense looked dominant against the Dodgers including two big performances against Clayton Kershaw and it will be interesting to see if they can get to the veteran Peavy early. San Francisco will manufacture runs early on Wainwright so whether or not St. Louis hangs around will be up to an offense that has to stay hot.

Pick: San Francisco Giants

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