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American League Division Series Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, October 5th (All times Eastern)

Detroit Tigers (1-0) at Oakland Athletics (0-1), 9:07 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46) Oakland - Sonny Gray (5-3, 2.67)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Verlander can put a season's worth of frustration behind him on Saturday, as he tries to give the Detroit Tigers a commanding two games to none lead over the Oakland Athletics in the best-of-five American League Division Series at O.co Coliseum.

Verlander nowhere near resembled the pitcher who not only won an AL Cy Young back in 2011, but was also the league's MVP. The hard-throwing righty never got into a groove and ended the year 13-12 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.

"I honestly don't look at myself any differently. We aren't robots, things aren't always perfect, and this is a season that opened my eyes to that fact," said Verlander, who didn't allow a run over his last two starts and pitched to a 2.27 ERA in September. "The last couple of years came pretty easy to me, right from the Spring Training, from the jump street, it was like, 'OK, my pitches are good, go from here.'

"This year wasn't like that. I would fix something and that would cause a kink in the chain, and I would fix that. It was a matter of getting myself to where I need to do be. It was a year-long battle. I'm not going to lie. This is something I worked on from early in the season until a couple of weeks ago, and I felt like the last couple of starts were where I needed to be. It's funny that it took all year, but hopefully I figured it out and peaking at the right time."

Verlander, of course, tossed a shutout in Game 5 versus the A's last year in the ALDS, but he has been pretty pedestrian in the postseason, pitching to a 4.22 ERA in 12 starts.

Even with the off year from Verlander, the Tigers starting staff still led the AL in almost every major category. A big reason for that was the play of Max Scherzer, who put forth a Cy Young caliber season of his own with a major league-best 21 wins.

Scherzer was again on the mark in Game 1 on Friday, as he allowed two runs and struck out 11 over seven innings in Detroit's 3-2 win.

Miguel Cabrera's RBI single highlighted Detroit's three-run first, which was more than enough cushion for the 21-game winner Scherzer (1-0), who surrendered just three hits.

"I thought Scherzer was pretty well locked in all night, he was awful determined," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "I think he was thrilled to get Game 1, I think it meant a lot to him."

Victor Martinez tallied two hits and a run scored, while Alex Avila added a pair of hits and an RBI for the defending AL-champion Tigers.

Teams have gone up 2-0 in the ALDS 22 times and advanced in 18 of them.

Bartolo Colon (0-1), whose 18 regular-season wins were second-best in the AL, yielded three runs on 10 hits over six innings. Colon never got a chance to pitch in last year's ALDS. He served a 50-game ban for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Yoenis Cespedes smacked a two-run homer and a triple, accounting for two of Oakland's three hits against Scherzer. The A's struck out 16 times.

On Saturday the A's will turn to rookie right-hander Sonny Gray, who was terrific down the stretch. Gray was 5-3 overall on the season, but 3-1 in September with a 2.79 ERA in five starts.

"It's something you really look forward to, growing up, and hopefully someday you get a chance to do it," Gray said. "Fortunately for me, this is my second, maybe third month in the big leagues and I'm getting to start a playoff game. There are a lot of guys in this game who said they wished they'd gotten the opportunity and they just haven't been on a playoff team. I'm very fortunate and I'm just going to try and go out there and make the most of it."

Gray has never faced the Tigers, but pitched to a 1.90 ERA in six home starts and struck out 38 batters over 40 2/3 innings of those outings.

"The problem with Sonny Gray," said Leyland, "is we don't know much about him, other than what we've seen on TV."

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.

Game 3 will be in Detroit on Monday.

10/05 10:22:22 ET

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • WBB: Duke vs. UMass Lowell

    Tonight at 6:30 on 620am

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
Final
CHI 103
NYK 97
Final
HOU 90
NOP 99
Final
SAC 107
MIL 108
Final
GSW 114
OKC 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
UTA
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
POR
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
 
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
Final
SD 55
MNTST 53
 
Final
UAB 70
LSU 79
Final
EVAN 81
OHIO 69
 
Final
CSFU 72
CSDH 50
 
Final
ORST 90
DEP 59
Final
PAC 69
NEV 65
Final
USF 77
PORST 40
 
Final
IDAHO 86
WALLA 39
 
Final
UTST 57
CALST 56
 
1:30pm Today
YOUNG
WILB
 
2:00pm Today
TULA
JST
 
6:00pm Tonight
RAD
SIENA
 
7:00pm Tonight
MERC
COOK
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
CASEWEST
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIB
CPNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
CLEM
 
7:00pm Tonight
CMICH
CONC
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
EKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
GWEBB
HIWASSEE
 
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
MDES
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NCAT
 
7:00pm Tonight
FAM
UNF
 
7:00pm Tonight
NORST
NARZ
 
7:00pm Tonight
DART
NILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
MORE
NKENTUCKY
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCSB
SDCHR
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJ
GAELS
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALA
STILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
HAMP
TENST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
TENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMARY
WSHMD
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLGC
FUR
 
7:30pm Tonight
CALST
SDKST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MTST
CHAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
DICKINSON
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
LSUALEX
 
8:00pm Tonight
PRIN
LIP
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
MLGN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MINN
SEAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
LOYC
SUTAH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
WINT
 
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
NO
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
ALAAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
TTU
ARKPB
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
COLST
 
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
TXPA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
 
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
Final
MON 1
ANA 2
Final
SJS 4
EDM 3
Final
LOS 6
STL 4
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
TAM
 
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
ANA
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
NYI
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
BOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL
 
Final
JAC 21
TEN 13