Game 5 - Tigers at A's
October 9, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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The Tigers and Athletics have been to this party before, as Detroit closed out the lights at the O.Co Coliseum last October to advance to the American League Championship Series. Detroit eventually won the pennant before getting swept by San Francisco in the World Series, while Oakland is looking to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2006.
In Game 2 of this series, Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46 ERA) resembled his 2011 form when he captured both the American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player by tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out 11 batters. However, Detroit's offense didn't help out Verlander as the Tigers failed to score a single run, while Stephen Vogt's walk-off single in the ninth inning gave Oakland a 1-0 triumph as short home underdogs.
Detroit owns a 14-20 record with Verlander on the mound this season, but the right-hander has been dealt some bad fortune recently. In his last three outings, the Tigers are 0-3, while Verlander hasn't allowed one run, including 33 strikeouts with all three defeats coming by one run each. How unlucky has Verlander been on the highway? Detroit has dropped five consecutive road contests with Verlander starting - all one-run results.
The Tigers' offense produced the second-most runs in the regular season (796), while scoring three runs in the first inning of Game 1. Since that point until the end of Game 3, Jim Leyland's club plated only three runs in the next 26 innings, while falling behind Oakland, 2-1. The Tigers dug themselves a 3-0 hole in Tuesday's Game 4 at Comerica Park, but Jhonny Peralta's three-run blast off Dan Straily revitalized this Detroit squad.
After Oakland grabbed a 4-3 edge heading into the bottom of the seventh, Victor Martinez tied the game up again with a controversial homer in which the replay showed a fan getting his hand on the ball before it cleared the right-field fence. The home run stood up and the Tigers would eventually take an 8-6 lead and even the series up at 2-2 heading back west.
The A's will turn to Game 2 starter Sonny Gray on Thursday night for the right to advance to the ALCS against Boston. Gray (5-3, 2.67 ERA) has pitched extremely well of late as Oakland is 6-0 in his last six starts. The right-hander impressed in his first postseason outing opposite Verlander by tossing eight scoreless innings and scattering four hits in a 1-0 victory.
The 'under' cashed in each of the first two games of this series at O.Co Coliseum, but the 'over' hit easily in the two contests played in Detroit. Since losing the first two games at Oakland in last season's ALDS, the Tigers have won four of the last six meetings in the Bay Area, including a 6-0 shutout by Verlander in the series finale.
Detroit opened up as $1.15 road favorite, as the number may increase by a few cents with Verlander on the mound. The total is set at 6 ½, mainly shaded to the 'over' at $1.15 (Bet $1.15 to win $1.00). The game will get started a few minutes after 8:00 PM EST and can be seen on TBS.
Red Sox up next:
-- It's never too early to look ahead to the ALCS, as Boston waits around for the series opener on Saturday at Fenway Park. The Sox put together a 3-4 record against the Tigers, but that included a 20-run outburst in their most recent meeting on September 4 in a 20-4 rout of Detroit. Meanwhile, Boston and Oakland split six matchups this season, with the home team winning two of three times in each series.
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