The Detroit Tigers finished the 2013 season off on a sour note, being no-hit by the Miami Marlins. However, that doesn’t show just how successful they had been prior to the poor finish. This might be the most well-rounded team in baseball and three straight division titles speaks volumes to just how much manager Jim Leyland has meant to this team.
On the other side of the diamond, the Oakland Athletics host the Tigers to start a five game series on Friday night. It seems like these two teams hook up every year for a playoff matchup. Will this be the season the Athletics finally take down the mighty Tigers?
The Tigers had the best batting average in the regular season and when you have Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Prince Fielder and Torii Hunter in the same lineup, that will happen. Cabrera is quite possibly the best hitter on the planet, hitting .348 with 44 home runs and 137 RBI and could easily be the most important player in the series. Martinez could be the X-factor moving forward; he finished the season with a .361 averages after the All-Star break.
Oakland is led by Josh Donaldson on offense who had a .301 average with 24 homers and 93 RBI in the regular season. The young third baseman has quickly become a star in this league and his impressive work with the glove and the bat is a huge reason why the Athletics are in the playoffs.
The upper hand in pitching has to go to the Tigers and that’s why I feel like the series will be won by Detroit. While the stats may show otherwise, the Tigers have dominated opponents this season. In fact, the Athletics have a better ERA overall than the Tigers, but Detroit’s 108 quality starts show that this starting rotation is better than any in baseball. Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez may close the series out in three games if they pitch like they potentially can.
Game 1: Tigers at Athletics, 9:37 p.m. EST, Friday, Oct. 4, TBS
Game 2: Tigers at Athletics, 9:07 p.m. EST, Saturday, Oct. 5, TBS
Game 3: Athletics at Tigers, TBD, Monday, Oct. 7, TBS or MLB Network
Game 4*: Athletics at Tigers, TBD, Tuesday, Oct. 8, TBS
Game 5*: Tigers at Athletics, TBD, Thursday, Oct. 10, TBS
PREDICTION: Tigers beat Athletics in four games, 3-1