Before this series started I wrote that the key matchup would be the Orioles bullpen versus Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez because those four players carried the Tigers offense in the regular season. As it turns out, the playoffs were no different. Here's how all of the other Tiger batters did aside from those four.
Nick Castellanos hit a home run in Game 2 and that was the only run or RBI for the Tigers that wasn't from one of the main four hitters. The chart shows that these batters went 9 for 56 with one home run, one double, and a .161/.215/.230 line. To put that in perspective, Zach Greinke put up a .200/.262/.350 line this year. Jake Arrieta had a .179/.220/.282 line. They probably did better than the average pitcher but certainly not by much. It's hard to win with production like that from your starting cast.
The real damage came from the big four. This is what they did against the rotation.
|Torii Hunter RF||7||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||8||0.25||0.143||0.393|
|Miguel Cabrera 1B||7||1||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||2||7||0.429||0.429||0.858|
|Victor Martinez DH||7||2||2||1||0||0||1||2||0||2||7||0.286||0.714||1|
|J.D. Martinez LF||7||2||2||0||0||0||2||4||0||2||7||0.286||1.142||1.428|
They may not have done a good job getting on base but they certainly hammered the ball. They hit three home runs and scored five runs via the long ball. And it's certainly hard to complain when your top four batters hit into just twenty-one outs while scoring six runs.
But the big four also had to hit against the bullpen. And here's how they did against them.
|Torii Hunter RF||3||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||4||0.5||0.333||0.833|
|Miguel Cabrera 1B||4||1||2||1||0||0||1||1||1||0||5||0.4||1.25||1.65|
|Victor Martinez DH||5||1||2||0||2||0||0||1||0||2||5||0.4||0.8||1.2|
|J.D. Martinez LF||5||0||1||0||1||0||0||1||0||2||5||0.2||0.4||0.6|
Turns out they hammered the bullpen even harder than they hit the starters. Now admittedly, Andrew Miller was a monster, going 3 1/3 innings and allowing only one walk total. But Miguel Cabrera hit a home run off of Darren O'Day in Game 1. Kevin Gausman gave up a double to V-Mart in Game 2 that allowed Miguel Cabrera to score. Zach Britton allowed doubles to Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez before saving the day in Game 3. All in all, those four guys pretty much hammered everyone.
Now it is true that the bullpen allowed just three runs and had an ERA of 2.25 compared to the rotation's ERA of 4.20. But the bullpen certainly wasn't able to stop those main four batters.
In the end, the Orioles didn't really stop the Tigers' four-headed monster. All the Orioles needed to do was simply survive them. Now it's time to savor the Orioles victory and look forward to the ALCS.