The Detroit Tigers will look to avoid elimination today when they host the Oakland Athletics in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. The game is scheduled for a 5:07 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on TBS. Currently the odds for the game have the Tigers favored to force a fifth and deciding game.
Detroit got a win with Max Scherzer in the opening game of this series but not are in a 2-1 hole. The Tiger offense has been just terrible in this series, scoring in just two of the 27 innings so far. Detroit was second in the league in runs scored this season but got shutout in Game 2 as well. Anibal Sanchez didn't throw well on Monday night and Justin Verlander had seven great innings but couldn't win. Today the Tigers will give the ball to Doug Fister in hopes of saving their season.
Fister often gets overlooked in a Tigers' rotation that bolsters three aces, but note he won 14 games this season and struck out 160 himself. He won eight of his 15 starts at Comerica Park this season but did struggle against the Athletics. He made one start against them this season and only lasted five innings, giving up seven earned runs on 13 hits in a loss. Oakland will be looking to replicate that type of offense today. Current Athletics hitters hold a .328 average in 135 at bats against Fister in their careers.
Oakland will give the ball to youngster Dan Straily. He's made 27 starts this season and won 10 games. He did throw against Detroit earlier this year and spun six impressive innings, allowing just eight hits and one earned run in a victory. Will he be able to have that same type of effort in today's game?
Detroit needed a boost from something offensively and it's possible Grant Balfour gave it to them. He's know for being a very vocal guy on the mound and caused an altercation with Victor Martinez in yesterday's game that saw both benches clear. Balfour could give the Tigers something to rally around in the clubhouse heading into this game.
With their backs against the proverbial wall, Detroit can't wait around to get guys on base and in motion. It's clear Miguel Cabrera isn't even close to 100 percent, but he's gutting it out at third base every game. Torri Hunter is expected to play again today despite a bit of a shoulder problem.
Look for Detroit to start being more aggressive at the plate. Fister has pitched well in pressure situations this season and it's hard to tell what Straily will bring to the table in his first postseason start. We like Detroit to get it done today.
Free Pick: Tigers 5, Athletics 3
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