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Tigers vs. Athletics ALDS 2013: 5 Matchups Worth Watching

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Tigers vs. Athletics ALDS 2013: 5 Matchups Worth Watching

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Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

The playoffs are all about matchups. You hear that in just about every sport, and you even hear it from coaches, managers and players. Matchups are really a big factor in how a team is going to perform in the postseason because given the right types of matchups, a team can use its advantages to dominate an opponent. If they match up poorly ... well, you get fans breaking a televisions after the World Series.

Matchups, matchups, matchups -- why does everyone talk about matchups? Well sorry Jan Brady, but it's because they are prettier to look at. You can't plan for when the key moment will be in a series, but you can look at how the pitching will be matched up, which is a huge strategic move from managers simply looking at the matchups presented to them. You can look at who hits well off a pitcher or who will produce more from a certain position on the field.

How a team stacks up another an opponent and what strategies might work has been how the playoffs have been operated since they began, and the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers are no doubt poring over every last matchup to ensure that they give their team the very best opportunity to come away with the series win. That is after Jim Leyland finishes eating his noodles.

So take a look at the five matchups worth watching in this ALDS showdown. Each of these matchups are going to be crucial in determining who is going to survive in October, and who is going to go home.

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

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5. The Bullpens

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Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

Clearly this is the Oakland Athletics' biggest strength over the Detroit Tigers, but the A's bullpen did blow up in their final meeting, so maybe they are not as invincible as they once were. If the Tigers can get to the A's bullpen, they could take this series.

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4. The Leadoff Hitters

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Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

Coco Crisp has been a spark plug all season for the Oakland Athletics while Austin Jackson has come and gone. Austin Jackson must match Coco's production if the Tigers are going to get out of this series with a win.

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3. The Cleanup Hitters

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Robert Stanton- USA TODAY Sports

Can Yoenis Cespedes produce big in the postseason for the Oakland A's? Prince Fielder won the overall battle between the two last season -- can Cespedes win this year's showdown? We'll see.

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2. Justin Verlander vs. Sonny Gray

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

The big-name veteran versus the upstart rookie. It's going to be quite a battle in Game 2 of the series with these two big arms heading for a pivotal showdown.

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1. The Aces

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Kyle Terada- USA TODAY Sports

It all has to start and end with the aces though. Can Max Scherzer deliver once again for the Detroit Tigers and give them the start they desperately need, or will Bartolo Colon continue his improbable run of pitching and show that the A's mean business? This is the biggest showdown to watch.