The Detroit Tigers quest to become this year’s World Series champions will start in a similar fashion as they begin with a playoff series against the Oakland Athletics. Last year, the A’s were content just making the postseason, but this year they want to win.
The A’s took control of the AL West from the Texas Rangers in August and won the division by five games. A big difference from winning six games in a row last season to slide into the playoffs. Their style of play make them a dangerous team to play in a short series. Josh Donaldson, CoCo Crisp, and Jed Lowrie have catapulted the club to #3 in the big leagues with 186 homers and #4 with 767 runs. After watching the A’s this season, their long ball hitter could be anyone at anytime.
To talk about the Tigers lineup, you have to talk MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera ( .348, 44 HR, 137 RBI ). Late season injuries to Cabrera have many concerned about his effectiveness now that the postseason has begun. The Tigers, however, have a plethora of offensive help to make up the slack with Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, and Victor Martinez.
There is no doubt about the effectiveness of the Tigers rotation. Although Justin Verlander had a lackluster regular season, Max Scherzer (21-3) has been stellar and will be the Cy Young winner. Scherzer will get the ball for Game 1, followed by Verlander and Anibal Sanchez.
The A’s ace, and Game 1 starter, is 40-year old Bartolo Colon. He has bounced back from serving a suspension last year for PEDs to a 2.65 ERA this season with an All-Star appearance. Rookie Sonnie Gray will take the mound for Game 2, followed by Jarrod Parker and Dan Straily respectfully. The A’s biggest pitching strength is their bullpen (3.22 ERA).
The Tigers will need to shake off a bad regular season ending. They went 2-5 in their last seven games including a no-hit performance against the Marlins to end the season. Starting at home could really help the A’s chances. Beating the Tigers in the postseason would be an upset.
Game 1 – Oct. 4 – 8:37 PM
Game 2 – Oct. 5 – 8:07 PM
Game 3 – Oct. 7 – 11:00 AM
Game 4* – Oct. 8 – TBD
Game 5* – Oct. 10 – TBD