October Confidential: ALCS Royals vs. Orioles

October Confidential: ALCS Royals vs. Orioles

The Royals will be in Baltimore to face the Orioles in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on TBS. It's a showdown of two teams that haven't won it all since the 1980s, so there's plenty on the line as their march to the Fall Classic begins.

What's the best way to beat each of these teams? To find out, we asked players from across their respective divisions to give the inside intel on how these clubs can be beaten. Our sources were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

James Shields
"His best pitch is his changeup. He'll throw that at any time in any count. You know he's going to battle. He's not going to give in or groove one over the plate to you. You have to worry about his cutter, his curveball and his changeup, basically. You just have to get him over the plate and get the ball. If you get that curveball or changeup down, you're going to have a tough time."
-- AL Central infielder

  Date   Recaps Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 10   KC 8, BAL 6 (10 inn.) video
Gm 2 Oct. 11   KC 6, BAL 4 video
Gm 3 Oct. 14   KC 2, BAL 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 15   KC 2, BAL 1 video

Eric Hosmer
"He's beaten me when I've gone away. He has a long swing, but it's quick. So if you throw a slider, it's got to be down and in front of home plate. He can chase that. You can tie him up early and late inside. He's a guy who maybe you go fastball in and then go slider down in the dirt and hope he swings and it falls it off. And then maybe elevate a fastball up and in."
-- AL Central pitcher 2

Alex Gordon
"If you can get him looking for a breaking ball, you can get a fastball by him. I've done that a few times. He can hit a hanging breaking ball well, and he did off me this year. But he's a guy you can go in and then expand away late. Try to get him to look for a slider and then go with a fastball. If you can get him looking for something, you can get him with another one. And I think people know that."
-- AL Central pitcher 2

Read the complete Royals October Confidential

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Chris Tillman
"He spots up well. He uses his four-seam fastball at the top of the zone well. He throws that big hook and the changeup, keeps them down well. It's really basic stuff, but he stays away from lefties for the most part and tries to hit those corners. He just works off the corners. Once he can get those calls, get ahead, he does a good job of placing the ball. He's got good stuff, but he doesn't rely on his stuff. He relies on his placement more than that. That's what makes him so successful."
-- AL East infielder

October Confidential
Team-by-team coverage
ALCS: Orioles | Royals
NLCS: Cardinals | Giants

Nelson Cruz
"Predominantly try to mix speeds, more offspeed than fastballs. He's on the plate, open stance, so he wants the ball in and wants to pull the ball. Staying away and mixing speeds is really how I've seen people attack him. You have to elevate just to change the eye level, drop something short. He's the most dangerous guy in their lineup, and you have to be careful with him."
-- AL East pitcher

Nick Markakis
"He's not your typical leadoff hitter. He's a guy that will swing at the first pitch of the game a lot of the time. He covers the plate. With two strikes, he'll shorten up. He'll expand and fight off pitches off the plate. He's good at spoiling good pitches, so you have to get in on him. But he's pretty quick in there, so you have to show that you can get him to open up the outside part of the plate. Something short's better than something elevated with him -- something in the dirt rather than something high."
-- AL East pitcher 1

"Nick Markakis is tough. I just realized this lately that you can get him out hard and in. Soft and away, he handles very well. It's not totally unusual, but there's some guys that with soft and away, they just serve it back up the middle. He has great plate discipline."
-- AL East pitcher 2

Read the complete Orioles October Confidential