Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland A's: How Tigers Will Silence Oakland to Advance
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According to Elias, the last 22 teams to go down 0-2 in a best-of-five have lost the series.
This also from Elias, stating that the Athletics haven't won an elimination game in five tries. A rational person would say that past seasons have no bearing on the current one, but it is certainly a stat that is concerning for the Athletics and may extend because of other more rational reasons.
Despite the Oakland Athletics great feel-good season where they took down the mighty Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they now face a huge uphill climb. After two close ones in Detroit, Anibal Sanchez will have a chance to end the A's season.
If he keeps pitching the way he is, he should have no trouble. Like the A's, Sanchez had a superb September pitching his way to a 2.43 ERA and five walks in 40 innings.
Sanchez's pitching will be key, but the bullpen will also be vital if Sanchez is only able to go five or six innings. Joaquin Benoit and Phil Coke should be able to bridge the innings for closer Jose Valverde who already has a save in this series.
It is also concerning that the Athletics bullpen may be wearing down in its late season use. Grant Balfour, who pitched five consecutive days to end the regular season may be tiring a bit. He ended up giving up the winning run in Game 2 against Don Kelly. It's only one game but the flurry of a finish the A's put up against Texas may be coming back against them now.
Anibal Sanchez's counterpart will be Brett Anderson who has pitched well this year. There is one exception however, he has barely pitched. He has given up 36 baserunners in 35 innings, but the disconcerting part is the 35 innings all season.
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Anderson is pitching for the first time since September 19, 2012. That will be nearly a month since he has thrown a live baseball. A talented pitcher but there is no time for shaking off the rust now, especially given the circumstances.
He is also coming off an oblique injury that tends to linger with pitchers. It could affect his mechanics and how he pitches if he feels a tweak here or there. Not to mention that he is coming off Tommy John surgery and the odds are long that he will pitch well to a lineup that we haven't even mentioned yet.
Miguel Cabrera, the Triple Crown winner—although not as impressive if you look at his other stats but I digress—is the best hitter in these playoffs. Prince Fielder isn't bad himself either, offering two huge bats for Anderson to go through. Austin Jackson has also experienced a breakout season, fulfilling his potential and providing a huge spark at the top lineup getting on base (.377 OBP) and scoring 103 runs.
Throw all that in and the Oakland A's may not be feeling too welcome at home. Keep in mind that home-field advantage means less in the MLB playoffs, where away team won both wild-card games and split three series and the Reds winning both in San Francisco.
It has been a great season by the Bay, but the Moneyball 2 storyline should follow the same as the first: an early playoff exit.
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