Oakland To Bring Its A Game to ALDS

Image courtesy of cleveland.com/Ben Margot - Associated Press
Lefty Brett Anderson will start for the A's against Detroit. Image courtesy of cleveland.com/Ben Margot - Associated Press
After finishing the season in a blaze of glory by sweeping the Texas Rangers, Oakland has stuttered in its opening two playoff games against the Tigers in Detroit. Back-to-back losses see the Athletics in the position of having to win three straight at home to progress to the American League Championship Series. The Tigers certainly have the momentum and history on their side; they’ve now won six straight in the post-season against the A’s, taking in to account their 4-0 whitewash in the ALCS in 2006.

The A’s shot themselves in the foot on Monday morning (AEST) with Coco Crisp spilling an easy outfield catch which cost two runs, before a wild pitch from Ryan Cook allowed another run to score. In a 5-4 loss, those two errors proved costly. The five runs Detroit scored are the most posted by a team without an RBI hit in a post-season game in Major League Baseball history (one run was scored on a groundout and the game-winner on a sacrifice fly).

In 104 best-of-five series in the playoffs, a team has taken a 2-0 lead on 65 occasions. In just seven series, or 11 per cent, has a team lost the first two games and come back to win 3-2. Given their love of playing at the Coliseum, The A’s have a chance of bucking that historical trend. Only one team in baseball – the New York Yankees – finished with a better home record than Oakland. Conversely, Detroit finished the regular season 38-43 on the road, only good enough for eighth in the American League.

The A’s will have arguably their best starter on the mound in Brett Anderson. The left-hander spent 13 months out of the game following elbow surgery, and compiled a 4-2 mark with an ERA of just 2.57 before injuring an oblique in September. This will be his first start since then, and manager Bob Melvin will be keen to see him go to work against the Tigers’ line-up which has struggled at times against lefties this season.

Anibal Sanchez will be on the bump for the Tigers. He went 9-13 this season, but has only been in the American League since the end of July when he was obtained by Detriot from the Miami Marlins. In his only start against the A’s, they smoked him for six runs in 5 2/3 innings. 

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