October 6, 2012
ALDS Game One Preview: Athletics at Tigers
The Braves had won a major-league record 23 consecutive games started by Kris Medlen when the righty took the mound against the Cardinals yesterday afternoon. Orioles starter Joe Saunders was winless in his six career tries at Rangers Ballpark before last night. So, naturally, St. Louis and Baltimore advanced to the Division Series, leaving Atlanta and Texas to wonder what might have been.
We’re but two games into the postseason, and havoc has already been wreaked. Below, you’ll find the PECOTA odds and projected lineups for today’s Game One matchup between the two- and three-seeds in Detroit.
Projected Starting Lineups:
Most teams with Cy Young award candidates are watching the playoffs from home, but the Tigers are a notable exception, and as PECOTA indicates, Justin Verlander gives Detroit a significant leg-up in the opener. Verlander won both of his starts versus Oakland this year, tossing seven innings of one-run ball at the Coliseum on May 13 and six shutout frames at Comerica Park on Sept. 19, and the 29-year-old righty closed the regular season with four consecutive victories, paring his ERA to 2.64.
The silver lining for the A’s is that they were missing a key member of their now-healthy lineup in each of those past meetings with Verlander. Cespedes was on the disabled list with a hand strain in mid-May, and Crisp sat out the mid-September showdown with conjunctivitis, so Bob Melvin’s offense lacked a power threat in the former encounter and a catalyst in the latter. A former Indian and Royal, and career American Leaguer, Crisp has seen plenty of Verlander, and his résumé is impressive. It includes an 8-for-22 (.364 average) line with two doubles and only three strikeouts, though Verlander has been able to control Crisp’s speed, holding him to just one stolen base. No other member of the Athletics’ post-season roster has more than two career hits off the Tigers’ ace.