Tigers-A's ALDS: Who has the edge?
The last of the four divisional series to get started will be perhaps the most intriguing. It's the Detroit Tigers heading to Oakland to face the AL West champion Athletics for Game 1 at 9:37 p.m. ET/6:37 p.m. local time.
The weather looks incredibly cooperative. It should be around 77 degrees with a zero percent chance of rain come time for the first pitch, per weather.com. Clear skies and no chance of rain is the forecast throughout, too.
The A's won the season series, four games to three while outscoring the Tigers by just two runs. So, really, they played almost as even as two teams can. The A's were 52-29 at home while the Tigers were 42-39 on the road. The A's come in hot, having gone 19-8 to September and cruising to their second straight division title. The Tigers were just 13-13 in September and lost five of their last seven games -- including being swept by the Marlins. Then again, those games were meaningless. This one means something.
And the Tigers send AL Cy Young favorite Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) to the hill Friday night. The A's counter with their ace, 40-year-old All-Star Bartolo Colon (18-6, 2.65, 1.17). Let's break it down further.
Colon vs. Tigers
He comes in red hot, having posted a 4-1 record and a sparkling 1.16 ERA in five starts in September. Not surprisingly, Colon was better -- though not substantially -- in the spacious confines of O.co Coliseum this season, posting a 2.58 home ERA.
Colon did make two starts against the Tigers this year. He gave up 15 hits and four earned runs (3.00 ERA) in 12 innings, striking out six with zero walks.
In terms of personal history, Colon has only faced three Tigers at least 20 times, and only two starters. The most history is against Torii Hunter, who has hit .241/.302/.448 with six doubles and two homers in 63 career plate appearances. Victor Martinez has hit .273/.304/.500 with two doubles and a homer in 23 plate appearances against Colon.
Collectively, players on the Tigers roster have hit .321/.347/.524 in 197 plate appearances against Colon.
Scherzer vs. A's
Scherzer was actually far better on the road (2.28 ERA, 0.92 WHIP) than at home (3.55, 1.03) this season. However, he was roughed up in his last start against the A's, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in five innings on Aug. 29.
In three career regular-season starts in O.co Coliseum, Scherzer is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a whopping 28 strikeouts in just 17 1/3 innings. He also started against the A's last year in the ALDS round, working 5 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits and one unearned run while striking out eight.
In all, Scherzer is 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 33 career postseason innings.
His history against individual A's players is limited. No one has seen him more than 20 times and only three players have seen him at least 15 times. Thus, I don't put much stock into the numbers, but some people do. For those people, here you go:
Brandon Moss is hitting .231/.333/.462 with a homer and three RBI in 15 plate appearances against Scherzer. Coco Crisp is 4-for-14 (.286) with a double. Josh Reddick is 4-for-10 with a triple. Josh Donaldson is just 1-for-8 with three strikeouts, but his hit was a triple. Yoenis Cespedes is 1-for-4 with a pair of walks. Jed Lowrie is 2-for-6 with a double and homer.
The A's collective roster is hitting .265/.331/.442 against Scherzer in his career.