The Oakland Athletics were just three outs from being eliminated from the postseason. Now, after a three-run ninth inning rally on Wednesday, they are hosting Game 5 of the ALDS with a chance to advance to the American League Championship Series.
After overcoming the odds to rally from a 3-1 deficit against Jose Valverde on Wednesday, the Athletics will face another difficult task on Thursday as the Tigers turn to ace Justin Verlander in the deciding Game 5. Verlander struck out 11 while allowing just one run over seven innings in Game 1 of the series. Including the playoffs, Verlander has started three games against the Athletics season, allowing just two runs over 20 innings.
While the Tigers send out one of the best pitchers in baseball, the Athletics will hand the ball to a rookie in Game 5. Jarrod Parker, who began the season in Triple-A, will start the deciding game for the Athletics. Parker took the loss in the first game of the series, but was solid, allowing two earned runs over 6-1/3-innings. While Parker may not have Verlander's pedigree or experience, he does have the home ballpark to his advantage. In 15 home starts this season, Parker posted a 2.61 ERA. That's compared to the 4.54 ERA he had in 14 road starts.
First pitch of Thursday's Game 5 is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast nationally on TNT.