After the Tigers ran through the Atheltics as expected in Game 1, we should now look at the breakdown of Game 2.
Verlander did his thing (7 IP, 11 K) as the Tigers capitalized on errors. So what are the biggest matchups of Game 2?
Miguel Cabrera vs. the Oakland Pitching Staff
Cabrera had a poor showing in Game 1, yet it is clear that the Athletics will be cautious with the Triple Crown winner.
So how do the Tigers maximize Cabrera in this series?
Cabrera might struggle a bit after coming down from his triple crown win. Moreover, the Venezuelan presidential election is today so perhaps that could alter his focus?
I think the Athletics and especially Milone will be very very cautious with Miggy and continue to pound the outside of the plate. Cabrera will probably earn at least two walks this game.
Which 10 game loser will pitch well on the mound?
Both probable starting pitchers (Doug Fister v Tommy Milone) lost ten games on the season. It is very rare that Game 2 of a postseason matchups consists of two pitchers with double-digit losses.
So what can we expect from the rookie Milone and the veteran Fister?
To begin, MIlone pitched well down the stretch giving up only eight earned runs in his last five starts. That being said how will the rookie fare in his first playoff start?
Fister also pitched well down the stretch only giving up more than two runs twice in his last seven games.
I believe the Tigers will want to jump on Milone early, but he is the type of pitcher that feasts on aggression so the Tigers will need to wait and pick their spots.
I do believe that the veteran Fister will win out in this matchup and the Tigers starter will outshine Milone.
WIll Prince Fielder earn his contract?
With Milone starting (a lefty), it will be interesting to see how Fielder does. Fielder maintained a solid .289 average against lefties, but only hit six home runs off of them.
With the Athletics trying to avoid letting Miggy beat them, this is where Fielder needs to shine. He was brought in to protect Miggy in the lineup and needs to earn his keep.
Fielder finished 0-4 in Game 1 and I don't believe that that 0-for trend will continue.
Where will the offense come from in Oakland?
The Athletics led the league in strikeouts and do not have a very potent offense lineup. In the large Comerica park, the Athletics will need to focus on hitting the gaps and not trying to take Fister deep. The Athletics were third in the league in home runs on the road but 25th in average on the road (.241).
So who steps up for the Athletics on offense? I don't think the Athletics can expect Milone to give up less than 2-3 runs so they will need to score, I think Coco Crisp will have to be the catalyst of any Oakland scoring.
Did we learn anything from Game 1?
After watching the game, it did seem that the young Athletics were nervous. They started a MLB record four rookies in Game 1 and will probably do so once again. The nerves were very noticeable when Jarrod Parker bobbled a ground ball, allowing Detroit to score.
Other than that, I would say that Game 1 was pretty straight forward. Verlander struck out 11 and only gave up three hits and Detroit won a close game. I believe Game 2 will really open up the series a little more with Fister and Milone on the mound. I dislike predicting score, but I will say 6-3 for the Tigers.
Athletics fans have to hope, being the first team to start back-to-back rookies in the first two games, that the calm, unflappable Milone continues his collected ways in his first playoff game.
It will be interesting to see how the Athletics fare in Game 2.
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