Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/11/12
Justin Verlander sat in the Tigers dugout during the ninthinning Wednesday night in Oakland, hands in his jacket pockets and a look ofanticipation on his face. He most likely was thinking about the celebration about toerupt at the Oakland Coliseum and starting the American League ChampionshipSeries opener on Saturday.Instead, after watching closer Jose Valverde surrender threeruns in the ninth inning, Verlander will be required to be the stopper inThursday nights winner-take-all Game 5. Obviously, its win or go home, Verlander said after the Athleticsrallied for a 4-3 victory, evening the AL Division Series at two games apiece.With the way the Detroit bullpen has caved recently, itmakes you wonder if Verlander must pitch his first postseason complete game toadvance the Tigers.Weve got our best pitcher going, so I like where we sit, Game4 starter Max Scherzer said. I like where we sit, but this is a hostile placeright now.Verlander is capable of taking a crowd out of the game. He'sthe defending league MVP and Cy Young Award winner, and was 17-8 with a 2.64ERA and a league-leading 239 strikeouts thi season.Its, obviously, a big game for us, Verlander said with asmile. But, like I said, this teams been resilient. Weve put ourselves in aposition where we have to win just one.The Tigers were three games down to the Chicago White Soxwith 12 to play and ended up winning the Central Division by three games.We beat the White Sox when we had to beat them, Verlandernoted.Verlander beat the As, 3-1, in Game 1 at Detroit. He wentseven innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out 11. The fourwalks were the lone ***** in his armor.Oakland has batted .214 against Verlander over his career,and hes posted a 2.38 ERA against the As. He has the number of most of their hitters -- with theexception of Game 4 hero Coco Crisp, whos batting .346 against him. Cliff Pennington(.067), Josh Reddick (.167), Smith (.111) and Josh Donaldson (.125) have beensent back to dugout empty-handed by Verlander on a regular basis.The As are sending out another rookie, Jarrod Parker (13-8,3.47), who allowed three runs (two earned) in 6 13 innings in his Game 1 loss.Alex Avila hit a homer, and Quintin Berry had two hits against theright-hander.Parker has never pitched in a game like this.Verlander beat the Rangers last year with Detroit facingelimination in the ALCS, and this will be his 10th postseason start, includinga pair in the World Series.If you must have your back to wall, there isnt a betterpitcher to have there with you than Justin Brooks Verlander.
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