Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/1/14
A rematch of a wild postseason from a year ago will once again pit the Detroit Tigers against the Oakland A’s. Oakland holds home field advantage and the series will kick off on Friday in front of one of the most raucous crowds baseball has to offer. Many fans around the Motor City are fearing the way the Tigers ended their season, which included losing 5 of their last 7 to a combination of the White Sox, Twins, and Marlins. The capper was being no-hit in the season finale. And what does that final stretch mean? Nothing. The Tigers have four full off days before the playoffs begin. Had they won seven straight to end the season I’m guessing the same fans who are complaining about the lackluster finish would be barking about how all momentum would be lost due to the layoff. In baseball, end of season momentum rarely means anything substantial. But momentum can certainly be created once the curtain is drawn, and that remains the Tigers’ sole focus. It’s his time to shine in October The Vitals The Tigers won the AL Central with a 93-69 record. In the end they held off the red-hot Cleveland Indians by just one game in the standings. The A’s ended up 96-66 and cleared the Texas Rangers by 5 games in the AL West. Oakland won four of the seven games these teams played this year. Interestingly, both teams won their respective road series’. The Tigers took 2 of 3 from Oakland back in April and then the A’s came to Comerica Park and bashed their way to a three game to one series win in late August. On the offensive Both teams boast some high powered offenses. Detroit’s 796 runs were 2nd best in the big leagues this year while Oakland’s 767 ranked 4th. Oakland’s 186 homers were 3rd best across all of baseball while the 176 knocked out by the Tigers was 7th best. One big difference is in batting average. The Tigers hit .283, best in the business, while Oakland managed just a .254 batting average due to their propensity to strike out. The A’s struck out 1,178 times, or 105 times more than the Tigers did. The Tigers’ offense is obviously led by MVP frontrunner Miguel Cabrera (.348 avg., 44 HR, 137 RBI). His abdomen and groin injuries of late have caused great concern across Tiger Town though. Much of Cabrera’s power has been sapped over the past six weeks while he’s battled these injuries, turning one of the game’s elite power hitters into an opposite field singles expert. Fortunately, Cabrera has some help in the form of Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez. For the A’s it has been Josh Donaldson, Coco Crisp, and Jed Lowrie carrying the weight most of the year. Brandon Moss, Yoenis Cespedes, and Josh Reddick all have extreme long-ball ability and can hurt an opposing pitcher in a hurry. Pitching wins in the postseason Ask most baseball experts whether they’d prefer great pitching or great hitting come playoff time and the answer is almost always pitching. The Tigers boast MLB’s best playoff rotation in what should shake out like this, from 1-4: Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, and Doug Fister. In a 5-game set this would potentially give the likely AL Cy Young winner the ball two times and this setup would also give Verlander the home opener for Monday’s Game 3. Despite his struggles, that assignment might give him the fire he needs to roll through the A’s. Oakland’s rotation is much younger and less known. Big ol’ Bartolo Colon will likely oppose Scherzer in Game 1. Colon had a dominant year. His 2.65 ERA was 2nd only to Detroit’s Sanchez (2.57). From there the A’s will roll out some unseasoned guys in Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, and AJ Griffin. Gray is a rookie while Parker and Sanchez are both 2nd year guys who saw a lot of action in last year’s playoffs. The Tigers’ starting rotation held a collective 3.44 ERA on the season, which was the AL’s best. Oakland’s starters were 2nd best in the AL at 3.72. The Tigers’ rotation struck out 981 hitters this year, by far the most in the majors (Cleveland was 2nd at 879). Oakland’s starting staff managed just 752. Oakland boasts the better bullpen (3.22 ERA to Detroit’s 4.01). A’s closer Grant Balfour had a big year with 38 saves in 41 chances. Detroit’s Joaquin Benoit had 24 saves in 26 chances. The problem is both of his blown saves have come within the last week. And the winner is…. The Tigers have the better offense, the better starting rotation, and the burning desire to finish what they started last year. Oakland is a brash team that couldn’t care less about any of that. Oakland has been smoking hot most of the 2nd half. The Tigers have been staggering down the stretch. To me, the x-factor is the Tigers’ rotation against the free swinging A’s. I know Oakland had their way in Detroit just over a month ago but when the pressure rises, Jim Leyland’s Tigers will outperform Bob Melvin’s crew. Tigers in 4 To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form [Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Video: Lionel Messi scores (possibly) the most amazing goal of all time

FA Cup Final: Arsenal earns record 12th title in 4-0 win over Aston Villa

James Harden wants some help in the backcourt

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Andrew Bogut throws some shade Dwight Howard's way

Scout: Red Sox have most resources to trade for Phillies' Cole Hamels

The problem with Adrian Peterson's Twitter 'rant'

Cavs shop sold out of Matthew Dellavedova merchandise

Who were those guys? A look back at the 1974-75 Warriors

Washington Redskins' DeSean Jackson up to old antics?

Klay Thompson's injury hurts Warriors' chances at NBA Title

Four former first-round picks playing for their NFL careers

NBA Finals: Cavs-Warriors lacks easy comparison and that's great

10 NFL storylines that headlined the past week

Blackhawks-Ducks Game 7 preview: Key players, prediction

Women’s World Cup power rankings: Which teams have the best shot at hoisting the trophy?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.