Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The rematch of the Tigers and Athletics in the 2013 ALDS is arguably in my opinion the most intriguing matchup among the first round postseason series', with two teams with win totals in the mid 90's, yet dramatically different makeups. The Tigers revolved around star power; they have the reigning MVP and a litany of All-Stars in the lineup, along with a Cy Young and a potential Cy Young winner in the rotation. Oakland doesn't have the same stars that the Tigers do, and one of their biggest (Yoenis Cespedes) is on the mend, but they had four players hit 20-plus home runs this season, and had six starters all perform well for them this season, only one of whom had an ERA over four (and barely at that, with Tommy Milone posting a 4.14 ERA). Given the balance this Oakland team has, they're not going to be an easy opponent to topple. However, the Tigers have the stars to beat them. The question is, will those stars perform like that? I am confident that at least one of the stars for the Tigers will have a series to remember, but between Miguel Cabrera's health, Justin Verlander's 2013 struggles, Jhonny Peralta and his layoff, I'm not confident the Tigers will find enough to top the A's. The Tigers and Athletics have a classic five game set, with Oakland coming out on top.
Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting
In a rematch of last year's ALDS, the A's and Tigers should engage in a very intriguing matchup. With two of the best offenses in the league, both pitching staffs will be put to the test in every game. There are few easy at-bats that pitchers can coast through and each game will have the potential to get out of hand in a hurry if a pitcher's execution is off even slightly. With Miguel Cabrera's injuries and the potential for a rusty Jhonny Peralta, I would project the Tigers offense to come up a little short of the output the A's will be expected to produce. On the other side, the Tigers have one of the most dominating pitching staffs of the last several seasons and if any rotation in baseball could be expected to shutdown a quality offense, the Tigers staff would be the one. The Tigers will need their starters to go deep into games to help protect a bullpen that has faced some rough patches throughout the season, and if they can do that while holding the A's lineup at bay, then the Tigers will have a chance to steal this series. I expect the series to be a tight one and won't at all be shocked to see this series go the distance. In the end, the ability of the Tigers to run through Max Scherzer twice and Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez each once in a five-game set, gives me reason to believe their pitching will be too much to handle. Give me the Tigers in five games, though it won't be easy.
James Chipman, Senior Correspondent
The last time the Detroit Tigers faced Oakland, the A's put up 34 runs over a four-game series at Comerica Park. Tigers pitchers served up seven home runs that series; four to A's outfielder Brandon Moss. That will not happen again. Tigers pitchers were notorious for keeping the ball in the yard, allowing an AL best (fewest) 128 homers this past season. I fully expect that trend to continue moving forward this postseason. Tigers' starters will pitch deep into games, the back end of the bullpen will do their thing and the bats will emerge from their South Beach slumber. Bottom line: It won't be easy but the Detroit Tigers will defeat the Oakland A's in four games.
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