Sports

Who would Orioles start in opening games of ALCS?

Baltimore OriolesSportsBaseballWei-Yin ChenChris TillmanDetroit TigersMiguel Gonzalez

NEW YORK -- If the Orioles advance to the American League  Championship Series, their starting pitching options for the first two games in Detroit would hinge on how they use their staff tonight.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said "all hands are on deck" for tonight’s decisive ALDS Game 5, with the exception of Miguel Gonzalez and Joe Saunders.

"I haven't heard anything that would make me think people are not available," Showalter said before Friday's game. Don't hold me to it. We can gain something, hear something, find out something between now and game time. But so far so good."

Chris Tillman, who was available in long relief in Game 4, will also be in the bullpen tonight. Game 2 starter Wei-Yin Chen would also be available in a pinch.

The Orioles used seven relievers in their 2-1, 13-inning win in Game 4, so Showalter said he would go around to his relievers during batter practice to get a feel of which ones could be available tonight.

If the Orioles don’t use Chen or Tillman tonight in relief, they would be the most likely options for the opening game of the ALDS.

Chen would be pitching on normal rest. Tillman hasn’t pitched since the Orioles’ regular season finale Oct. 3 in Tampa Bay.

Gonzalez would then be the likeliest option to start Game 2 in Detroit on regular rest, even though the Orioles have worked hard to give Chen and Gonzalez extra days of rest.

Based on how the Tigers rotation has worked out, right-hander Doug Fister would likely be Detroit’s Game 1 starter with right-hander Anibal Sanchez going in Game 2. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, who tossed a complete-game in Detroit’s ALDS Game 5 win, would likely start Game 3 in Baltimore on Tuesday, and right-hander Max Scherzer would pitch Game 4 on Wednesday at Camden Yards.

Other pregame notes:

-- If the Orioles win, don’t expect a celebration that compared with the one that followed their wild-card game win last week. The schedule doesn’t reward the winner of this division series. While the Tigers have a day off, the Orioles would have to play Saturday night in Detroit.

-- Orioles left-hander Zach Britton and infielder Wilson Betemit both flew up to New York on Friday to join the team if they advance to the ALCS. That’s not to say that either one would definitely be on the club’s ALCS roster, but they will both be options.

-- Game times for the ALCS were announced Friday. If the Orioles advance, Game 1 would begin at 8:07 p.m. in Detroit while Game 2 is slated for 4:07 p.m. The series would shift to Camden Yards, where Tuesday’s Game 3 and Wednesday’s Game 4 would both open at 8:07. Thursday’s Game 5 in Baltimore, if necessary, would be a 4:07 game. Game 6 in Detroit would be an 8:07 start on Saturday and Game 7 an 8:15 start on Sunday.

All ALCS games will be televised on TBS.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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