Game 2012 Playoffs.1: A’s at Tigers

It was a long road, and never easy, but the Tigers did it, and the playoffs are here! Let baseball’s second season begin!

Because of the peculiarities of this season’s scheduling, even though Detroit is the away team, they get the first two games of the best of five series at home, beginning with Justin Verlander on the mound tonight at 6:07, and Doug Fister tomorrow afternoon at 12:07, before heading out west to Oakland on Tuesday.

The Tigers won the regular season series with the A’s 4 games to 3, but the A’s come into the postseason as the hottest team in baseball, overcoming a 5-game deficit in 9 days to steal the AL West on the last game of the season from the Texas Rangers, who are now headed home to figure out what happened to their season.

First things first:  the Tiger playoff roster is set, and in what may be a bit of a surprise, Brennan Boesch was left off, while Don Kelly and Danny Worth are in.  In addition Brayan Villarreal was left out, which means Al Alburquerque will assume a big role. Rick Porcello will move to the bullpen for long relief.


So who are these Oakland A’s anyway? Nobody expected them to contend this season, not even Billy Beane, who thought he was assembling a rebuilding team who would contend in 3 years. Sports Illustrated tries to reverse-engineer the A’s to see what went so right, including an aggressive running game and an efficient mix of part-time players, who combined to give the A’s the most opposite-handed plate appearances in the AL, which makes their lineup hard to name, but also difficult to beat. (SI also predicts Oakland will take it in four).


The contrast between the two clubs is maybe nowhere more apparent than in the pitching match-ups. Oakland hands the ball to rookie right-hander Jarrod Parker (13-8, 3.47), who leads a team of rookies that combined to account for 54 wins (and 56 home runs). Parker’s gem is his change-up:  he has thrown over 600 of them this season, and has yet to have one leave the yard.

Parker will face reigning MVP/Cy Young Justin Verlander, who is looking to establish himself as a postseason pitcher in front of the home crowd.  Verlander’s postseason totals hardly say “ace” (3-3, 5.57), but he has been bounced around a lot by rain delays.

Stat of the Day: Quintin Berry finished the season with 21 steals without being caught, an AL record. Teams haven’t tended to run against Oakland (144 attempts, vs 176 against Detroit). If Q-Berry gets on, will he get a green light?

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Miguel “Triple Crown” Cabrera, who is also 2-3 career against Parker.

Today’s Central Division Champions Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Quintin Berry LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Delmon Young DH
  6. Andy Dirks RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta  SS
  8. Alex Avila C
  9. Omar Infante 2B


  1. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    October 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Glad to be here with my TDTWL pals! Enjoy as we earned this. Thru our many candid discussions over the rollecoaster season, we know the Tigers and what they can and can’t do. Sit back and watch the magic and great play. Also, don’t let the national media get you down as if the Tigers win this, they will say it is the other team’s fault and will give little credit to the Tigers. Always a Tiger; especially in October!

  2. Tom in Lakeland

    October 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks for the first of potentially many play-off posts, Coleman. Hoping here that you are writing late into October. Go Tigers!

  3. T Smith

    October 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I’ve been thinking Dirks should back up Fielder in the 5 spot, especially against right handed pitching. I foresee a strategy of not pitching to Cabrera and Fielder playing a big role in this series.

    Please make me out for a fool, DY.

  4. Coleman

    October 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Coco Crisp?

  5. stephen

    October 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Here’s how I see it. Verlander has a 5.54 ERA in the playoffs. He’s got to give a great start or he’s going be viewed as the A-Rod of pitchers. The good news? The A’s aren’t that good. Been on an unreal hot streak for six weeks. How do you end it? Well, you start with Bud Selig giving the lower seed the first two games which has not happened in professional sports in my lifetime. Punch them in the mouth and win 5-0 today and the A’s will go away. Lose today and man, it’s hard to see a way the Tigers win.

    BTW, with the clown school homefield advantage this year, I see the Orioles winning. Tigers take them in seven. World Series? Who the hell knows?

    Seriously, I know this team has underachieved, but they have to grab the advantage that the baseball gods, uh, Selig, has given them. They haven’t played a game yet and three teams better than them in the AL have already been eliminated! This is the Tigers version of the 06 and 11 Cards. Or their chance at it.

  6. stephen

    October 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    And in the time it took me to write that Cy Verlander has already given up a first inning run. Good times.

  7. Kevin at another wedding

    October 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm


  8. Coleman

    October 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I’m not sure how you quantify something like that, but that’s the 2nd consecutive AB where Berry’s speed got him on base because of how the fielders reacted to him.

  9. stephen

    October 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    In 20 hours, the A’s are going to be down 2-0 and will be looking to egg Bud Selig’s house

  10. PHToy in HK

    October 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Great win!

  11. stephen

    October 6, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Hope Tigers vote Selig a full share.

  12. travisfrymanfan

    October 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Players approved the format.

    • stephen

      October 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      The fact that players approved it doesn’t make it less idiotic and unfair. It was a money grab for players and teams. No one gives a crap about fairness, just making an extra buck.

  13. travisfrymanfan

    October 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Starting the first game knowing of the rain last year caused Detroit problems. That was unfair

    • stephen

      October 6, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      Sure was, doesn’t make this any less unfair. Your argument seems to be it was unfair before, we should always make things unfair.

  14. travisfrymanfan

    October 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Cy Verlander will win again or will be the runner up

  15. travisfrymanfan

    October 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Between 1969-1994, 2-3 was the format:

    • stephen

      October 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      Yeah it was idiotic and unfair then and it’s idiotic and unfair this year.

    • William

      October 7, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Tigers played at KC for the first two in 1984.

  16. jud

    October 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    No one in the playoffs AL or NL looks forward to have to beat JV..Fister..and Scherzer in the playoffs..and Sanchez is pitching as well as anyone…

  17. Vince in MN

    October 7, 2012 at 12:31 am

    What went right for the A’s this year?: …including “an efficient mix of part-time players.” Otherwise known as a good bench. Dave Dombrowski please take note.

    I missed the game today, which by the looks of the box score, was a dandy. Top and bottom of order came up big. Middle of the order, not so much. Delmon caught stealing??? – what was that all about, somebody miss a sign? JV was JV. Valverde with the save and 2 Ks. Is the vaseline ball back?

    Tiger pitching can cool these A’s right off. Hope Fister is in form tomorrow. All the games might be low scoring. No clown show defense please.