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Tigers vs. Athletics ALDS 2013: 5 Players Who Must Deliver

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Tigers vs. Athletics ALDS 2013: 5 Players Who Must Deliver

Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics are going to count on their stars to carry them through this ALDS series. All it takes is one slump from a player who they have counted on all season to completely send a team spiraling towards a postseason exit. If the Tigers and A's don't get contributions from their big players, they could be looking at a very brief playoff appearance.

Both teams have talent and a roster full of guys who can come up big at any moment, and both teams don't need a streaky, flukey player to get them where they need to go. Instead, they just need their solid, dependable players to be leaned on to get them through this short series. Offense is where the majority of the need is going to be for both teams as both excel greatly in pitching, but have a tendency to struggle at the plate.

With the teams' struggles at the plate, it just makes those few players who routinely contribute that much more valuable. That doesn't mean that the teams won't rely on their pitchers to deliver as they are going to need big starts from every single pitcher who takes the mound. I did find one pitcher in particular that is going to be a major X-factor in this series assuming everyone else does what they did in the regular season.

So find out who the five players are that absolutely must deliver in this series to make it a competitive, thrilling one. If any of these guys are off their game, then this series is not going to go the distance and could result in heavy use of brooms.

Brent Smith is a Detroit Tigers writer for Follow him on Twitter @brentweets or add him to your network on Google

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5. Justin Verlander

Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander is the one pitcher out of these two teams who has really significantly underperformed. If he can deliver for the Tigers, he can all but ensure that the Tigers will be moving on to the ALCS.

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4. Josh Donaldson

Joe Nicholson- USA TODAY Sports

Josh Donaldson has been the A's best hitter through the year and he is going to be the most counted on to produce at the level he has this season. If he falters, it will be extremely difficult for the A's to score runs.

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3. Prince Fielder

Brace Hemmelgarn- USA TODAY Sports

Prince Fielder is going to find himself in the biggest moments, and he is going to have to produce for the Tigers to find themselves in the next round.

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2. Josh Reddick

Kyle Terada- USA TODAY Sports

Josh Reddick was the heart of this team last season and could be the heart of this team again this season. Reddick is not just a player who can hit; he can ignite emotions both in the clubhouse and with the fans.

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1. Miguel Cabrera

Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

The math is simple on this one, no Miguel Cabrera production, no chance at advancement for the Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera must be the Superman once again for this team.