Unlike the Detroit Tigers, few critics expected the Oakland Athletics to be where they are today.
The Los Angeles Angels, one of the A’s division rivals, bolstered their roster in the offseason by acquiring Josh Hamilton to go along with Albert Pujols. Similarly, the Texas Rangers added stud pitcher Matt Garza at the trade deadline in an effort to challenge for the top spot in the AL West.
But, much like the A’s proved in 2012, they again were the team to beat in 2013. The Athletics bested the Angels and Rangers by 18 and 5.5 games, respectively, and took the top division honors.
But even though the Athletics posted a superior 96-66 record to the Tigers’ 93-69 mark, Detroit might still be the favorite in the series. With a roster headed by Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, the scrappy A’s will have to pull out all the stops to prevent a Tigers victory in Game 1.
Read on to see the keys to each team winning Game 1 of the ALDS tonight.