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A capsule look at Athletics-Tigers playoff series

Associated Press Modified: October 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm •  Published: October 5, 2012
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A look at the best-of-five American League division series between the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers:

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Schedule:

(All times EDT) Game 1, Saturday, at Detroit (6:07 p.m.); Game 2, Sunday, at Detroit (TBA); Game 3, Tuesday, at Oakland (TBA); x-Game 4, Wednesday, at Oakland (TBA); x-Game 5, Thursday, at Oakland (TBA). (All games on TBS or MLB Network)

x-if necessary.

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Season Series: Tigers won 4-3.

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Projected Lineups:

Athletics: CF Coco Crisp (.259, 11 HRs, 46 RBIs, 39 SBs), SS Stephen Drew (.223, 7, 28 with Diamondbacks and A's), LF Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 23, 82, 16 SBs), 1B Brandon Moss (.291, 21, 52), RF Josh Reddick (.242, 32, 85, 15 assists), 3B Josh Donaldson (.241, 9, 33), DH Seth Smith (.240, 14, 52) or Jonny Gomes (.262, 18, 47), C George Kottaras (.212, 9, 31 with Brewers and A's) or Derek Norris (.201, 7, 34), 2B Cliff Pennington (.215, 6, 28) or Adam Rosales (.222, 2, 8).

Tigers: CF Austin Jackson (.300, 16, 66, 10 triples), LF Quintin Berry (.258, 2, 29, 21/21 SBs), 3B Miguel Cabrera (.330, 44, 139 for baseball's first Triple Crown since 1967), 1B Prince Fielder (.313, 30, 108), DH Delmon Young (.267, 18, 74), RF Andy Dirks (.322, 8, 35), SS Jhonny Peralta (.239, 13, 63), C Alex Avila (.243, 9, 48), 2B Omar Infante (.274, 12, 53 with Marlins and Tigers).

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Projected Rotations:

Athletics: RH Jarrod Parker (13-8, 3.47 ERA), LH Tommy Milone (13-10, 3.74), LH Brett Anderson (4-2, 2.57 in 6 starts), RH A.J. Griffin (7-1, 3.06).

Tigers: RH Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64, ML-leading 239 Ks), RH Doug Fister (10-10, 3.45), RH Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86 with Marlins and Tigers), RH Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74, 231 Ks).

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Relievers:

Athletics: RH Grant Balfour (3-2, 2.53, 24/26 saves), RH Ryan Cook (6-2, 2.09, 14/21 saves), LH Sean Doolittle (2-1, 3.04), LH Jerry Blevins (5-1, 2.48, .183 BA vs. LH), RH Jim Miller (2-1, 2.59), LH Travis Blackley (6-4, 3.86).

Tigers: RH Jose Valverde (3-4, 3.78, 35/40 saves), RH Joaquin Benoit (5-3, 3.68, 84 Ks, 71 IP), RH Octavio Dotel (5-3, 3.57), RH Al Alburquerque (0-0, 0.68 in 8 games following elbow surgery), LH Phil Coke (2-3, 4.00), RH Brayan Villarreal (3-5, 2.63, 66 Ks, 54 2-3 IP), LH Drew Smyly (4-3, 3.99 in 23 games, 18 starts) or RH Rick Porcello (10-12, 4.59 in 31 starts).

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Matchups:

The A's were swept by Detroit in the 2006 ALCS, ending their last playoff trip. Detroit won the pennant on a home run by Magglio Ordonez. ... The teams split a four-game series in Oakland in May, and Detroit won two of three at home in September. ... Smith had good success against the Tigers this season, hitting .417 with 2 HRs and 6 RBIs. ... Reddick also homered twice vs. Detroit this season. ... Cespedes missed the series in May with an injury. ... Anderson allowed three runs in 2 1-3 innings in his one start vs. the Tigers before leaving with an oblique injury that sidelined him for the last two weeks of the regular season. ... Crisp is 8 for 22 in his career against Verlander. No other A's player has more than two hits against the Tigers ace. ... Verlander and Scherzer finished 1-2 in the majors in strikeouts, and they'll face an Oakland team that whiffed more than any other in baseball. ... Verlander won both his starts this year against Oakland, allowing one run in 13 innings. ... Detroit OF Avisail Garcia was called up late in the season and hit .326 in 22 games. He could be an option against left-handers in place of Berry or Dirks. Brennan Boesch can also add pop to the outfield, but he hit only .240 this season. ... Coke has been fairly effective against left-handed batters this year, but righties hit .396 off him.

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Big Picture:

Athletics: This was supposed to be a rebuilding year in Oakland after GM Billy Beane traded top starters Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill and closer Andrew Bailey in the offseason to give the team the lowest opening-day payroll in the majors at $53 million. Instead, manager Bob Melvin led a collection of rookies and misfits to the franchise's first playoff berth since 2006. ... After a rocky start, Oakland (94-68) has a major league-best 72-38 record since June 2, with big performances from players acquired in those deals such as Parker, Milone, Reddick, Cook and Norris. ... The A's became the fifth team to overcome a deficit of at least 13 games and finish in first place, and the first to overcome a five-game deficit with fewer than 10 games remaining. ... The one major offseason addition was Cuban defector Cespedes, who proved worthy of the $36 million, four-year deal he got from the normally thrifty A's. ... The A's got 56 HRs and 54 wins from their rookies, joining the 2006 Marlins as the only teams to get at least 50 of both in the same season. ... Oakland finished the season with five rookie starters and the 54 wins from rookies are the most ever for a playoff team. ... The A's set an AL record with 1,387 strikeouts but made up for it by leading the majors with 112 HRs after the All-Star break. Oakland hit 195 long balls overall, with three players reaching 20 and eight hitting double digits. ... The A's .238 average is the lowest for a playoff team since Detroit hit .235 in 1968 — the year before the mound was lowered. ... Oakland was shut out 16 times.

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