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Tigers vs. Athletics: How they match up

A look at the American League division series between Detroit and Oakland.

October 03, 2013|By Dan Connolly
  • Max Scherzer replaced Justin Verlander as the ace of the Detroit Tigers staff, finishing the regular season 21-3 with a 2.90 earned-run average.
Max Scherzer replaced Justin Verlander as the ace of the Detroit Tigers… (Leon Halip / Getty Images )

SCHEDULE

Game 1: Friday, 6:37 p.m., TBS

Detroit (Max Scherzer, 21-3, 2.90) at Oakland (Bartolo Colon, 18-6, 2.65)

Game 2: Saturday, 6:07 p.m., TBS

Detroit (Justin Verlander, 13-12, 3.46) at Oakland (Sonny Gray, 5-3, 2.67)

Game 3: Monday, Time TBA, MLB Network or TBS

Oakland (Jarrod Parker, 12-8, 3.97) at Detroit (Anibal Sanchez, 14-8, 2.57)

Game 4: Tuesday, Time TBA, TBS*

Oakland (Dan Straily, 10-8, 3.96) at Detroit (Doug Fister, 14-9, 3.67)

Game 5: Thursday, Oct. 8, Time TBA, TBS*

Detroit (Scherzer) at Oakland (Colon)

*If necessary/All times PDT

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Detroit Tigers

Pos., Players, Avg. HRs, RBIs

CF Austin Jackson, .272 average, 12 homers, 49 RBIs

RF Torii Hunter, .304, 17, 84

3B Miguel Cabrera, .348, 44, 137

1B Prince Fielder, .279, 25, 106

DH Victor Martinez, .301, 14, 83

LF Andy Dirks, .256, 9, 37

2B Omar Infante, .318, 10, 51

C Alex Avila, .227, 11, 47

SS Jose Iglesias, .259, 2, 10 *

*Does not include statistics with the Boston Red Sox.

Oakland Athletics

Pos., Players, Avg., HRs, RBIs

CF Coco Crisp, .261, 22, 66

3B Josh Donaldson, .301, 24, 93,

SS Jed Lowrie, .290, 15, 75

LF Brandon Moss, .256, 30, 87

DH Yoenis Cespedes, .240, 26, 80

RF Josh Reddick, .226, 12, 56

2B Alberto Callaspo, .270, 5, 22**

1B Daric Barton, .269, 3, 16

C Stephen Vogt, .252, 4, 16

** Does not include statistics with the Angels.

KEYS TO THE SERIES

This is the second consecutive year the teams have faced each other in the ALDS. The Tigers won three of the five games last year on their way to the 2012 World Series. The A's won four of seven between the clubs this season and have the home-field advantage in this five-game set. There's no reason the Tigers shouldn't beat the A's again. They have the superior offense, dominating starting pitching and the Manager Jim Leyland in the dugout. Yet the A's love being counted out. They won 96 regular season games — three more than Detroit — are tremendous at home and have relished the underdog role since 2012. Detroit has the best baseball player on the planet in third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is likely to win his second consecutive most-valuable-player award. The A's have Coco Crisp, the pesky leadoff hitter who had 22 homers and 21 stolen bases this season. But the embodiment of the unheralded A's is third baseman Josh Donaldson, who has power (30 homers) a good eye (76 walks) and a penchant for sacrificing his body on defense. Player health might go a long way in determining the outcome. Cabrera (groin) and defensive standout Jose Iglesias (hand) have been banged up recently for Detroit. Oakland slugger Josh Reddick has been hampered by a right wrist injury and star left fielder Yoenis Cespedes might be limited to a DH role because of right shoulder soreness. Leyland and A's Manager Bob Melvin aren't afraid to play hunches, so it could be an interesting chess match. Detroit's Jhonny Peralta and Oakland's Game 1 starter Bartolo Colon have each served drug-related suspensions. If the Tigers' stout rotation dominates, Detroit wins this series. But playoff games often come down to the bullpens, and the A's have a distinct advantage there (3.22 relief earned-run average versus Detroit's 4.01).

THE PICK

Athletics in five.

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