2014 American League Division Series Previews and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

2014 MLB Playoffs: ALDS Predictions

We simulate the Orioles vs. Tigers and Angels vs. Royals to predict the ALDS winners

WhatIfSports.com
October 2, 2014

Using our MLB simulation engine, we "played" the Orioles vs. Tigers and Angels vs. Royals 2014 best-of-five American League Divisional Series 501 times.

In the predictions below, you will find each team's chances of advancing to the American League Championship Series and how often they win in 3, 4 or 5 games.

American League Division Series Prediction: Orioles vs. Tigers

Pitching wins in the playoffs. That's the phrase that pays in the Motor City. Detroit will have Cy Young Award winners in back-to-back-to-back starts against Baltimore. The Tigers fought off a late rally by the Royals to win the AL Central and secure a series in the postseason.

Avoiding the one-game Wild Card round is a huge sigh of relief to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. Now, he's able to build a rotation and plan for a best-of-five series.

Justin Verlander seemed to pitch his way into Game Two after finishing the regular season with back-to-back wins of seven innings of work or more, with only one run allowed.

Simulation ERAs
Team ERA
Orioles Rotation 5.26
Orioles Bullpen 3.97
Tigers Rotation 4.53
Tigers Bullpen 4.35

That still leaves questions about Detroit's bullpen. Will Ausmus leave the starters in the game too long? Will Joe Nathan protect a lead? Who will Ausmus use if Nathan can't get the job done?

As for the Orioles, they wish they had the rotation problem the Tigers think they have. Baltimore only has one starting pitcher among the Top 40 ERA leaders, Chris Tillman (3.34 ERA). The Tigers have three: Max Scherzer (3.15 ERA), David Price (3.26 ERA) and Rick Porcello (3.43 ERA).

Baltimore needs to rely on its offense in order to make this a competitive series. In batter vs. pitcher splits, Adam Jones is 9-18 (.500) against Scherzer. However, Jones is only 6-33 (.182) against Verlander, 11-44 (.250) against Price and 4-24 (.167) against Porcello.

As for Nelson Cruz, he is 8-21 (.381) against Scherzer and 7-19 (.368) against Price, but 5-25 (.200) against Verlander and 4-22 (.182) against Porcello.

You can't talk about offense without mentioning the 2012 Triple Crown Winner, Miguel Cabrera. Miggy is 12-38 (.316) against the probable starters for the Orioles.

Will it be the Orioles or the Tigers advancing to the ALCS? According to our MLB simulation engine, which played the series 501 times, the season will continue for Detroit. The Tigers won 51.3 percent of series simulations, with the most likely outcome a Tigers victory in four games. Check out the results below:

Orioles vs. Tigers: 501 Simulations of Best-of-5 Series
MatchupWin %3-Games %4-Games %5-Games %
Orioles48.79.618.820.4
Tigers51.313.821.016.6
Simulate Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers

American League Division Series Prediction: Angels vs. Royals

After five hours of baseball, the Royals emerged as the final contender in the ALDS. From the criticism of Ned Yost pulling James Shields to Jarrod Dyson's post-stolen-base celebration dance, it was an entertaining and eventful evening.

Now, the Royals must gather themselves and prepare for a tough opponent in Los Angeles.

The Angels finished with the best record in baseball (98-64) and scored the most runs (773 runs). Their pitching is no slouch, either. Even after losing Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.61 ERA) in August, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and the surprising performance of Matt Shoemaker did enough to win games.

Simulation ERAs
Team ERA
Angels Rotation 4.23
Angels Bullpen 3.15
Royals Rotation 4.83
Royals Bullpen 3.97

Speaking of pitching, while the Royals had plenty to celebrate on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, the next series may not conclude with champagne. Both Shields and Yordano Ventura were used in the one-game Wildcard, which leaves Jason Vargas as the probable Game One starter.

The Angels haven't been in the postseason since 2009. Since then, Los Angeles added Albert Pujols (two-time World Series champion) and Josh Hamilton (2010 ALCS MVP) to their lineup.

Oh, there is also this kid named Mike Trout. The three-time All-Star is making the first postseason appearance of his young career. Trout ended the regular season with 36 home runs and 111 RBI in 157 games.

For the Royals, being able to score nines run in the Wild Card game was incredible. In all of 2014, Kansas City scored nine runs or more on nine occasions, and only two times after the All-Star break.

This year, the Royals and Angels met six times. The series concluded in a 3-3 tie, with the last game being played on June 29th.

Do the Royals have more magic or will the Angels prevail? We used our MLB simulation engine to play the series 501 times and the Angels came out on top 59.9 percent of the time. The most common scenario was the Angels winning in four games, which occured in 23 percent of simulations. Check out the full results below:

Angels vs. Royals: 501 Simulations of Best-of-5 Series
MatchupWin %3-Games %4-Games %5-Games %
Angels59.915.623.021.4
Royals40.110.414.215.6
Simulate Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals
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Adam Meyer is a Contributor for WhatIfSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FOXSportsMeyer.

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