For the second consecutive season, the American League West and Central division champs will go head-to-head in the American League Division Series. The Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers will do battle for a chance to play for the American League pennant.
The A’s won the season series 4-3 including taking three of four in Detroit. The teams were evenly matched this season with Oakland having the advantage with 42 runs to the Tigers 40. Detroit is looking to get back to the World Series where they lost to the San Francisco Giants a year ago. The A’s are looking to get past the ALDS.
Keys to the Series
Can the A’s bats stay hot against Detroit pitching? – Oakland was all over Detroit pitching this season. When the two teams met in Detroit in August, the four Detroit starters didn’t make it past the fifth inning. The Tigers will look to their two-headed monster of aces in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander to try and steal at least one game on the road in the first two games. Verlander had a subpar season for what we are accustomed to seeing from him in years past. Detroit’s bullpen has been shaky all season, so if the starters can’t go deep into games, this series has the potential to get ugly.
Bob Melvin’s Playing of the Matchups- Bob Melvin is a manager who plays the best matchups possible in order for his team to succeed. This season he has used 13 different DH’s, seven left fielders, six right fielders, and six second basemen. It will be hard for the Tigers to prepare for the A’s lineups as Melvin will shake things up. If he guesses correctly in his matchups, the A’s will be in good shape to win the series.
Detroit- Miguel Cabrera- He didn’t win the Triple Crown this season, but his numbers were still out of this world. He batted .348 with 44 homeruns and 137 RBIs and an OBP of .442. The biggest issue with Cabrera heading into the playoffs is whether or not he can stay healthy. Injuries nagged him throughout the season, but if he can remain healthy, he will certainly help his team.
Oakland- Jed Lowrie- Lowrie absolutely destroyed Detroit pitching this season. In the four-game series at Comerica Park, Lowrie went 8-17 with a homerun, four doubles, five runs and six RBIs. He has a career .350 batting average against current Tigers pitching. Coco Crisp and Josh Donaldson do a good job in the leadoff and two spot of getting on base in front of Lowrie who bats in the three spot. If he can continue to torture the Detroit pitching staff, this could be a short series.
Game 1- Detroit @ Oakland – Friday 10/4 9:30 p.m.
Game 2- Detroit @ Oakland – Saturday 10/5 9:00 p.m.
Game 3- Oakland @ Detroit – Monday 10/7 TBD
*Game 4- Oakland @ Detroit – Tuesday 10/8 TBD
*Game 5- Detroit @ Oakland – Thursday 10/10 TBD