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Oakland at Detroit

Venue: Comerica Park
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DETROIT (AP) - One team has the reigning MVP and another player who just won the Triple Crown.

The Oakland Athletics will try to counter all that by sending - who else? - a rookie to the mound.

"We've been the `David' all year," A's right-hander Jarrod Parker said. "I think obviously it's a role and an image that we've kind of taken on and been able to embrace and it's fun."

Parker will start against Detroit ace Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the division series Saturday night. The AL Central-champion Tigers are making their second straight playoff appearance, but Oakland emerged as one of the game's biggest surprises by winning the AL West.

Now the A's have to contend with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera - the Detroit third baseman who might win the American League MVP after Verlander took the award last year.

"We know we've got a great ballclub. We know what we have in the clubhouse," Cabrera said. "We know we're going to face a very hot team like Oakland. They play unbelievable baseball right now."

Cabrera hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBIs to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1967. But he wasn't the only big story in the closing days of the regular season. The A's rallied to win the AL West, edging Texas by one game when they beat the Rangers on the final day.

Not bad for a team that had the lowest opening day payroll in the majors. Oakland got 56 homers and 54 wins from a cast of rookies that included Parker (13-8) and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Rookie left-hander Tommy Milone, who matched Parker with 13 wins, is slated to start Game 2.

"Obviously with Verlander going Game 1, you've got to be on your game," Parker said. "We have a lot of left-handed bats that are hot right now, and I think that's one thing we've got going for us."

Outfielder Josh Reddick, one of Oakland's left-handed hitters, hit 32 home runs this year.

The series will start with two games in Detroit, where the weather can be a factor this time of year. In 2006, the Tigers swept the A's in the AL championship series, and there were snow flurries at Comerica on a workout day between games. It rained a bit Friday, but the forecast for Saturday looked clear.

That was good news for Verlander (17-8), the powerful right-hander who had two playoff starts cut short by rain last year.

"I saw a little bit of rain today, but I saw actually on my Twitter of all places that it's not - no rain in the forecast for tomorrow," Verlander said.

Verlander led the majors in strikeouts this year, and Max Scherzer - Detroit's Game 4 starter - finished second. That could be an asset for the Tigers, especially since Oakland struck out more than any other team. Detroit hasn't been very good defensively in 2012, but if the A's aren't making consistent contact, it might not matter.

The Tigers are expected to start Doug Fister in Game 2, followed by Anibal Sanchez. Scherzer, who was bothered by a right shoulder issue down the stretch, threw four innings in the regular-season finale Wednesday - after twisting his right ankle two nights earlier in the celebration after Detroit clinched the division. The Tigers are content to wait until Game 4 to start him.

"The Scherzer situation - coming off a little bit of the ankle situation and the shoulder - we decided that would be the best way to go," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "It would also - just by pitching him, Sanchez in front of Scherzer - would keep Sanchez from keeping off too long."

The A's begin the postseason days after the death of reliever Pat Neshek's newborn son. Neshek is back with the team for this series.

"As soon as I got out there and started playing catch, it takes your mind off all the bad stuff," Neshek told reporters. "It's a good way of healing. . I don't think we'll ever get over it, but this is a good way to put the pieces back together."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Weather
weather image  Afternoon clouds. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
52°F41°F13mph/W49%9%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Oakland1st AL West5734.626-6-4 L 1
Detroit1st AL Central5037.575-6-4 W 2
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Justin Verlander
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Cespedes32000.667
Crisp228003.364
Donaldson51010.200
Reddick102002.200
Drew61004.167
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Jarrod Parker
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Cabrera32000.667
Boesch32000.667
Jackson21010.500
Dirks31001.333
Benoit000000
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Oakland 175 Detroit -185
Injuries
Oakland
PlayerInjury
K. BlanksCalf
A. GriffinElbow
J. ParkerElbow
D. PomeranzHand
J. ReddickKnee
Detroit
PlayerInjury
A. DirksBack
J. IglesiasShin
V. MartinezBack
P. McCoyHamstring
L. PutkonenElbow
B. RondonElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Mar 31DETDET 4-3Nathan Davis 
Apr 2DETDET 2-1Alburquerque Collins 
Apr 3DETPPD   
May 2KCDET 8-2Porcello Shields 
May 3KCDET 9-2Smyly Duffy 
May 4KCDET 9-4Verlander Vargas 
Jun 16DETKC 11-8Vargas Verlander 
Jun 17DETKC 11-4Ventura Scherzer 
Jun 18DETKC 2-1Guthrie Smyly 
Jun 19DETDET 2-1Sanchez Duffy 
Jul 10KC 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 11KC 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 12KC 7:10 PM EDT  
Jul 13KC 2:10 PM EDT  
Sep 8DET 4:08 PM EDT  
Sep 9DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 10DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 19KC 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 20KC 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 21KC 2:10 PM EDT