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Oakland Vs Detroit Preview

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS—ROUND 2

The Tigers defeat of the Yankees in the division series certainly proved that solid pitching could intimidate and shut down fine hitting. The A’s sweep of the Twins illustrated how finesse on the mound can be dominant. It’s time for the ALCS and a series in which the Tigers hold a slight edge over the Athletics in almost every category, including the regular season series, which they took 5 games to 4.

Still, these two teams are fairly evenly matched. In the division series against the Twins, Oakland pitchers had a solid 2.33 ERA, while Detroit’s squad posted a 3.60 against the big time hitting Yanks, holding them to a .246 batting average. The Twins hit .257 against Oakland’s hurlers.

A’s starter Barry Zito comes out of the first series with a win and a 1.13 ERA. If he’s got movement and placement on the curve, he’s tough to hit. Starting pitcher Dan Haren has had a tough time against the Tigers this year, pitching 13 innings and ending up 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA. He won his playoff start against the Twins with a 3.00 ERA. Starter Esteban Loaiza worked 9 innings against the Tigers this season, going 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA. He won his playoff start with a 3.60 ERA. Both reliever Justin Duchscherer (2.25 ERA Playoffs) and closer Huston Street (2 SV) looked good against the Twins, although Street has been inconsistent this season and did post a worrisome 3.00 ERA in the first playoff series. Rich Harden, who is coming back from ligament damage, is the club’s fourth starter. He’s has a lot of rest and posted two great starts in September.

One of the reasons the Tigers’ pitching squad’s ERA was higher than the A’s in the first round of the playoffs had to do with starter Nate Robertson’s horrible first game against the Yanks. In that game he posted an 11.12 ERA. When pitching against Oakland this season, he’s 1-1 with a 5.76 ERA. But in the second game of the division series Justin Verlander, who has been strong against the A’s this season, gave a good performance, and in the final two contests Kenny Rogers won with a 0.00 ERA and Jeremy Bonderman pitched 5 perfect innings and gave up 2 runs in 8.1 innings. Rogers certainly proved his mettle versus the Yankees, and in his career he’s stellar against Oakland, including 2 wins this season. In relief Joel Zumaya throws the hottest heat in the league and closer Todd Jones has been dependable.

If the A’s pitchers have great control, they’ll be able to dominate the Tiger hitters. But if they make mistakes, Detroit will make them pay. The Tigers need consistent starts, especially from Rogers, the vet, who can really influence the rest of this young squad. One bad outing will not get the Tigers down. They’re resilient.

Detroit has superior hitting, which includes sluggers Magglio Ordonez (.298 AV, 24 HR, 104 RBI), Craig Monroe (.255 AV, 28 HR, 92 RBI), Marcus Thames (.256 AV, 26 HR, 60 RBI), and Brandon Inge (.253 AV, 27 HR, 83 RBI). Both Carlos Guillen (.320 AV) and Ivan Rodriguez (.300 AV) know how to get on base. Curtis Granderson (.260 AV) at leadoff and Placido Polanco batting second (.295BA ) need to play better and come through in this series.

For the A’s, Frank Thomas (.270 AV, 39 HR, 114 RBI) has been the comeback player in the league. With Eric Chavez (.241 AV, 22 HR, 72 RBI) hitting right behind him, they’re a potent one-two punch. Nick Swisher (.254, 35 HR, 95 RBI) can also whack the long ball. Hitting for average are leadoff man Jason Kendall (.295 AV) and left fielder Jay Payton (.296 Av). Starting second baseman Mark Ellis is out after breaking his finger in the division series. His glove and bat will be greatly missed with D’Angelo Jimenez (.183 AV) taking his place.

The Tigers possess a better slugging percentage and batting average, but the A’s come in with a much better on base percentage. Detroit’s batters will have to show more patience at the plate, while Oakland’s guys will rely upon timely hitting. If Oakland’s finesse pitchers don’t have it, the Tigers will pound the ball out of the park, while Detroit’s starters will have to be accurate with the A’s patient hitters.

Managers Ken Macha (Oakland) and Jim Leyland (Detroit) are both vets. But there’s something about Leyland and his ability to calm and inspire young talent that gives him the edge.

Maddux Sports Series Prediction.

A close series but a slight advantage goes to the Tigers. Their pitching is a bit better as is their hitting. Detroit in 7 Games in which could be one of the more memorable post season series in recent memory.

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Detroit Tigers -110 Current Series Price at Time of Publish

 

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