2012 ALDS: Oakland Athletics Looking for Revenge Against the Detroit Tigers
Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour shut the door on the Texas Rangers in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning.
Metallica was blaring and over 12,000 walk-up tickets had been sold.
Not one day in first place in the past 161 games.
Eight outs away from a possible rematch with Detroit, one which ended badly during the 2006 playoffs for the Athletics. The aforementioned closing trio again shut the door in the faces of the Texas Rangers, who for the third time in three years have had to deal with some sort of disappointment while in the playoffs or during the run-up to the playoffs.
Thirteen games back on June 30th, a roster in which even most baseball fans can't name more than two players and a pitching staff featuring five rookies, not including the bullpen.
The best record since the All-Star break, a resounding number of home runs, a ton of stolen bases and a will to have fun on the diamond have made this year's 2012 Athletics the most entertaining team to watch in all of baseball.
Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown, but not without help from the A's.
Hamilton trailed Miggy in home runs by one and failed to do anything more than get a couple of hits against the staunch A's pitching he faced. Mike Trout, Miggy's closest follower in batting average, seemed dejected after realizing his Angels were knocked out of the playoffs. However, Trout could still win the AL MVP because of his stellar defense and will to steal a base on the drop of a dime.
Yesterday was one of the biggest days in A's fan history: Diehards jetted up the I5, leaving at the crack of dawn for a chance to see the A's clinch the West.
The setting was surreal.
The A's had already clinched a playoff spot. We at least knew that we would be seeing a 163rd game. And then Brandon Moss hit a three-run double in the bottom of the eighth to break it wide open, sealing the deal for an AL West title.
So what happened in 2006? The year the A's boasted the rotation of a lifetime, with Rich Harden, Dan Haren and Barry Zito in their prime?
It was the year of the Tiger.
The A's got outscored 22-9, recording only three runs in the sixth inning and beyond en route to a 4-0 sweep.
The difference this year is the mentality.
The A's have just won six straight and are 3-4 on the season with Detroit this year. Oakland pounded Detroit 12-4 in their last meeting, however they lost the series 2-1. It's no secret that figuring out Verlander in Game 1 will be quite the task, but all the A's need to do is take one of the first two in Detroit, and come back for a three-game series in Oakland where they can control their own destiny during the three-game homestand.
What's more intriguing is that if either Baltimore or Texas can upend New York in the ALDS, and Oakland can keep the magic coming, Oakland will again have home-field advantage in the ALCS. It's very possible that Texas and Oakland could square off once again in the ALCS. Texas has the talent to force a rematch, but they've just made their paved road to the World Series into more of a gravel back road.
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