The Detroit Tigers hit the road to take on the Oakland Athletics in Game 5 of the American League Division Series. The game is scheduled for an 8:07 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on TBS. Currently the odds for the game have the Tigers as a small favorite at many places and Oakland favored at other places.
Many thought Bartolo Colon was going to get the start for the As in this one, but manager Bob Melvin tabbed rookie Sonny Gray as the go-to guy for this one. There's already a lot of pressure on Gray at home to make it through the Detroit lineup consistently, but he also has to take on former MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander, who is the prototypical ace.
Gray threw very well in the second game of this series, going eight innings and striking out nine while allowing just four hits. He got a no decision in that one but certainly pitched well enough to give his team the win. This is a pitching rematch of Game 2, where Verlander also threw well, striking out 11 and walking one while allowing just four hits during seven innings of work. Both offenses were shut down in that contest and there could be more of that tonight.
Detroit was one of the best offenses in the league during the regular season but have struggled in this series. Prior to the fifth inning of game 4, Detroit had scored in just two innings the prior three games. They were able to break out of that in the final four innings last game, scoring eight runs amongst their last 12 outs against the As. Will they be able to keep that offense going in tonight's game?
Oakland has done very well offensively, coming up with clutch at bats and being pretty solid all around. Coco Crisp is having an impressive series so far, getting hits in seven of his 14 at bats. He's also walked three times and scored four of Oakland's runs. If he is continually on the base paths tonight, the Athletics are probably going to win in a close game.
For Detroit, it's painfully obvious Miguel Cabrera isn't close to 100 percent. He's still marching out there and playing every day but he has looked awkward in the batter's box and has only four hits in his 16 at bats this post season. Many guys in the lineup (Austin Jackson, Torri Hunter, Jose Iglesias to name a few) are struggling at the plate. If the Tigers can't get a good effort from their lineup tonight their season will come to a quick end.
But in the end, we like Verlander in a must-win situation over the rookie. No disrespect to Gray, he's a great talent, but Verlander is going to gut it out, be the horse he is and get it done for Detroit tonight. He's a No. 1 for a reason and it's games like these when you give him the ball and let him do his thing.
Free Pick: Detroit 4, Oakland 1
NFL Free Picks: New York Giants at Chicago Bears Betting
What pro football bettors need to know betting New York Giants at Chicago Bears on Thursday (10/10/13) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Brady Kannon, with Vegas Runner and host Steve Fezzik.
Pregame FREE fantasy contest CLICK HERE | $25 of picks FREE! No Obligation - No Credit Card Required - Becoming a member is Fast and Free!
RJ Bell Talks Daily Fantasy Sports — LISTEN on Soundcloud