Date/Time: October 4th, 9:35 PM ET
Probable Starters: Scherzer (Detroit) vs. Colon (Oakland)
Moneyline: Athletics -106
The final LDS series gets started on Friday night at the O.co Coliseum, where the Oakland Athletics are hoping to exact a measure of revenge against the Detroit Tigers. These two are going to meet at 9:35 at night on Friday, and it should be a doozy of a duel in the Golden State.
Detroit knows that it made it to the World Series last season before falling apart, but we still think that this team looks a lot like the one from last year that was so suspect in the Fall Classic. The pitching really doesn’t look to be as strong as it once seemed, the bats seem to be a bit battered, and we just don’t trust the situation in the bullpen either. Cy Young Award winner to be, RHP Max Scherzer is going to be on the hill on Friday to start this series in what proved to be a controversial decision by Manager Jim Leyland. Leyland decided to go with his 21-game winner instead of the man that pitched his team past these A’s last year, RHP Justin Verlander in Game 1. Scherzer struck out 240 batters this year in just 214.1 innings of work, and he posted a 2.90 ERA, so it’s not like he was just a man that won 21 games on the back of his team. This is a man that deserves every accolade that is coming to him, and we know that he will pitch well in this game.
But will it be well enough to beat the A’s? RHP Bartolo Colon is starting a Game 1 for the very first time in his career, and he is doing it for a team that really only gave him a flier at the start of this year for the sake of giving him a flier. Colon turned out to be excellent. He’s not gassing the ball by guys like he did early in his career, and he’s not throwing 120 pitches a night either, but he is doing the job, eating innings, and putting up zeroes. The righty went 18-6 this year with a 2.65 ERA. He only struck out 117 batters, but he did log at least seven K’s in each of his last four starts to the season. The problem that Colon might have is turning the ball over to his bullpen. Oakland had one of the best bullpens in the game last year, but we know that RHP Grant Balfour, as talented as he is, hasn’t had the best luck in the postseason, and he could be in some trouble in this series against a bunch of clutch hitters.
In the end, Oakland is the better of these two teams as we see it. Scherzer is good, but he is going to have to be relatively spotless if the team is going to be able to ride his back to a win on the road. Unfortunately for him, those 21 wins mean squat now in the playoffs, and we’ll believe that he can pitch in the second season when we really see him succeed at it.
Detroit Tigers @ Oakland Athletics Pick: Oakland Athletics -106
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.