The American League Division Series begins tonight with Game 1 between the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics. The game is scheduled for a 9:37 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on TBS. The odds on the game have the Tigers as a road favorite in this one.
We've reached the divisional stages of the MLB Playoffs and finally we have all eight teams that will battle for the World Series title. Detroit and Oakland will meet in the late game Friday night when each of the eight teams are in action.
Getting the ball for the Tigers in the opener will by Max Scherzer, who no doubt will win the American League Cy Young as he posted a 21-3 record with an impressive 2.90 ERA with 240 strikeouts this season. Mad Max finished with the second most strikeouts of any pitcher in baseball behind Yu Darvish of Texas.
Jim Leyland's team reached the World Series last year and have goals of getting there again in 2013. Oakland is certainly a tough team to draw in the opening round, but the Tigers will run out Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez in the opening three games. All three are strikeout guys with very good ERAs.
Oakland is going to have a tough time against those three guys but the As did win 52 games at home this season, where the opening two games are being played.
Detroit finished with the most quality starts in the league at 108 this season. They also ranked in the Top 10 in ERA, WHIP and batter's average against this season. Offensively they're pretty good as well, ranking first in the Majors in batting average at .283 and second each in runs scored, on base percentage and slugging.
Oakland also ranked in the Top 10 in all four pitching categories and will send Bartolo Colon to the hill. He won 18 games this season and had an impressive ERA himself. He won eight of his 16 starts at home this season and actually started two games against Detroit, but didn't earn a decision in either game.
The Tiger hitters might have a bit of an advantage in this one — they currently hold an average of .321 against Colon in his career with 187 plate appearances.
Scherzer didn't earn a decision in either of his starts against Oakland, but did allow six earned runs in 11 innings of work. Current As hitters hold a .292 clip in 96 plate appearances against him.
This one will come down to which pitcher is more effective. Colon was pretty solid at home this season but Scherzer also threw well on the road. We like Detroit to get to and win the World Series this year and their first step comes out West in Game 1.
Free Pick: Detroit 6, Oakland 3
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