Game One: Baltimore vs. Toronto
First thing is first, let’s look at the stats:
I’ll probably play around with that view above, but essentially, blue is Toronto and orange is Baltimore. Side by side comparison by position. The bottom Advantage area is which team had a majority of side by side leaders.
We can deduce from this that in 2016, Baltimore was actually the more powerful team, but Toronto was quite a bit more patient at the plate, hit for average, and had a better chance driving one into the gap when it matters.
From a starting pitcher perspective, both starters (Tillman, 16-6; Stroman, 9-10) have a couple post season starts and each have a win, but nothing to really write home about. If either one of them is on their game, they can be very hard to hit. I’d give a slight advantage to Stroman based on nothing more than my instincts.
So who’s going to win? I was at the greatest baseball game of all time – the 2014 KC vs. Oakland play-in game. And literally anything can happen. Both of these teams have taking a sip of toilet water in recent playoff years, and strange enough, both from my boys in KC. Statistically, the away team has a 6-2 record since the implementation of the play-in game.
I think Toronto is going to win. I think they jump Tillman early, and go to their own pen early and often to make sure they get to the next round. While Baltimore out-powered the starting 9 for Toronto this season, something magical happens in the playoffs in Canada, and I’m putting my (fake) money on Toronto.