On Saturday, at approximately 6:07 p.m. EDT, the AL Central Division champion Detroit Tigers will take the field at Comerica Park to take on the surprise AL West Division champion Oakland Athletics.
Without question, the A's and Baltimore Orioles are the Cinderella teams of these playoffs. The A's, with the second-lowest payroll in baseball, according to USA Today, capitalized on trades made during the winter and prudent signings by general manager Billy Beane.
Beane traded off three-fifths of last year's starting rotation, along with the closer, and the vast majority of experts and prognosticators predicted Oakland would suffer through a miserable season as a result.
But the acquisitions—namely, Josh Reddick, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook—would turn out to be key contributors and all provided the A's with performances that helped springboard them to the AL West title.
For the Tigers, the hitting tandem of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder helped the Tigers to their second straight AL Central title. It was a struggle getting there, however, as the offense was hit or miss for much of the summer, until it finally started to gel as a unit in September.
This article will break down the entire series and provide analysis for the starting lineups, starting rotations and bullpen. I'll also take a look at key intangibles for each team and give my best prediction as to who will ultimately move on to the ALCS.