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W:M.Scherzer(1-0) L:B.Colon(0-1) S:J.Benoit (1)
HR: DET- None OAK- Y.Cespedes (1)
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American League Division Series Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, October 4th (All times Eastern)

Detroit Tigers (0-0) at Oakland Athletics (0-0), 9:37 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90) Oakland - Bartolo Colon (18-6, 2.57)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Tigers' quest toward another pennant begins the same way it did a year ago, with a best-of-five American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics.

The A's gave Detroit all it could handle last year, as the Tigers needed to win a decisive fifth game at O.co Coliseum to advance to the ALCS, where they swept the New York Yankees.

Of course, Detroit's run ended in the World Series, as it was swept in four games by the San Francisco Giants.

Oakland may have been content with just making the playoffs last season, but it's a different story this year for the A's, who enter the postseason with perhaps the most complete team on the American League side.

"We were just riding that emotion and certainly happy to be where we were," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "But the mindset was different this spring; the expectations were different."

Last year, of course, the Athletics needed to win their final six games - including a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers to close the regular season - to claim their first American League West title since 2006.

Well, Oakland proved that last year was no fluke, as it has spent most of the season at or near the top of the division. And thanks to another September swoon from Texas, it ran away with its second straight division title and finished the year 96-66.

This A's lineup resembles more of the late 80's power teams in Oakland at the plate without the star power of a Jose Canseco or Mark McGwire, of course, as these A's are led by a cast of virtual unknowns, including MVP candidate Josh Donaldson.

Oakland's 186 homers were the third best in baseball, but the team managed to hit at just a .254 clip, while striking out 1,178 times.

The A's pitching staff was fronted by former AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon, who will be on the hill Friday. Colon turned back the clock to win 18 games this season and posted a 2.65 ERA, second only in the AL to the Tigers' Anibal Sanchez (2.57).

Colon, of course, did not pitch in last year's ALDS, as he was serving a 50- game ban for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Detroit, meanwhile, had no hangover from its trip to the Fall Classic, as it went 93-69 to win a third straight AL Central crown thanks to another amazing campaign from Miguel Cabrera, and despite a wildly inconsistent season from ace Justin Verlander.

While Verlander struggled, the rest of the staff thrived, specifically Game 1 starter Max Scherzer, who enjoyed the best year of his career, as he won an MLB-best 21 games, while pitching to a 2.90 ERA and striking out 240 batters over a career-high 214 innings.

In Verlander, Scherzer and Sanchez the Tigers produced three 200-strikeout pitchers on the same team for just the third time in history, the first since the 1969 Astros.

Amazingly, the Tigers starting staff led the AL in almost every major category in spite of Verlander, who was only 13-12 and finished the year with his highest ERA (3.46), lowest strikeout rate (23.5 percent) and lowest innings total (218 1/3) since 2008 while battling reduced velocity.

As good as their starting staff may have been, though, any conversation about the Tigers begins and ends with the great Cabrera, who came within an eyelash of a second straight Triple Crown.

Cabrera may have fell short of his remarkable 2012 season, but still hit a career-high .348 to become the first player in more than two decades to win three straight AL batting titles. His 44 home runs were second to the 53 by Baltimore's Chris Davis, and he finished second in RBI, one behind Davis' 138.

He batted .330 last year with 44 homers and 139 RBI.

"I still had a good season," he said. "I have the same numbers I had last year, and we won the division."

Cabrera is the first right-handed batter in either league to win three straight batting titles since Rogers Hornsby's six straight for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1920-25. Cabrera became just the fifth player to win three consecutive AL crowns, joining Nap Lajoie (1901-03), Ty Cobb (1907-09, 1911-15 and 1917-19), Rod Carew (1972-75) and Wade Boggs (1985-88).

Detroit, which lost four of seven games against the A's during the season, has beaten Oakland the last two times these teams have met in the postseason. The A's only win against the Tigers in the playoffs came in the 1972 ALCS, which started a run of three consecutive world titles for Oakland.

10/04 10:25:16 ET

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASCAR: Toyota Owner's 400 from Richmond

    Saturday at 7:00 pm on FOX50

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls at Norfolk

    Tonight at 7:00 on 620am

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Wednesday at 11:05 am on 620am

  • MLB: LA Angels at NY Yankees

    Saturday at 1:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
Final
BOS 6
BAL 5
11:05am Today
BOS
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
1st OT
HOU 108
POR 106
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
3rd
SJS 7
LOS 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
COL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
9:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR