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The Oakland A's season came to end Thursday night in part thanks to a Cy Young worthy performance from the reigning Cy Young winner. Justin Verlander threw 122 pitches, striking out 11 A's batters in the process. Instead of focusing on the negatives of the loss, the fellas at Athletics Nations took a step back on the pain of the loss and instead decided to focus on everything that went right this season.
"Jarrod Parker proved down the stretch that he is a money pitcher. There were 15 walkoff victories, none bigger than last night's. There was a 4-game home sweep of the Yankees, something that no Oakland A's team had ever acomplished. Despite the minute chances given to them at the beginning of the season, the A's will hang a 2012 AL West Banner at the Coliseum next year, and knocked off the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels to do it. Yoenis Cespedes proved to be the signing of the offseason, and is a legitimate five-tool player. Sean Doolittle emerged as one of the game's premier setup men, and one of the game's best stories, period."
It wasn't the season fans expected and it wasn't the finish fans were hoping for, but the Oakland A's gave their fans a wild ride this season and, perhaps more importantly, an exciting foundation to cheer on for seasons to come.
Verlander struck out 11 and threw a complete game as the Tigers beat up on the A's, 6-0, ending Oakland's miracle season.
Verlander is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA against Oakland this year, but for an Oakland team that's made a season of comebacks, that won't be a sign for concern. Oakland counters with Jarrod Parker as its starting pitcher.
Each team sends out similar batting lineups to Game 4, though A's manager Bob Melvin moved Brandon Moss from the fourth slot to the seventh in the batting order for Game 5. Designated hitter Seth Smith has swapped into the fourth spot for Oakland.
The Oakland Athletics have been part of dramatic postseason comebacks before, they are just used to being on the other side of them. After falling down 2-0 in the series then trailing 3-1 going into the ninth inning of Game 4, the Athletics somehow find themselves hosting a winner-take-all Game 5.
Following Wednesday's dramatic Game 4 win, Athletics fans found out what it feels like to be on the other side of a comeback. As pointed out in the post game recap at SB Nation's Oakland blog Athletics Nation, being on the comeback side is a lot more fun.
You know what? Game 5's feel a lot better on this side. So much better, in fact; and believe me, I speak from years of experience, that if you are going to lose two out of four games, definitely lose the first two. Especially when you are in the one weird year of playoff baseball where games 3, 4, and 5 are played at home.
Even after tying the game in the ninth, the Athletics looked to be headed to extra innings when Coco Crisp came to the plate. Once the goat of the series for a costly error, Crisp came through with the hit to complete the comeback and make the A's what Athletics Nation called the "unlikeliest of walk-off winners."
The A's, and their fans, will have to catch their breath quickly as Oakland will face Detroit in the deciding Game 5 Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. PT.
After an improbable ninth inning comeback on Wednesday, the Athletics will now look to advance to the American League Championship Series on Thursday.
Josh Reddick, Josh Donaldson, Seth Smith, and Coco Crisp rallied the A's with three runs in the bottom of the ninth to give the A's a 4-3 walkoff win.
The Oakland Athletics cut the Detroit Tigers' lead to 2-1 behind a Stephen Drew RBI double that brought home Coco Crisp.
The Oakland Athletics will send pitcher A.J. Griffin to the mound against the Detroit Tigers, hoping the rookie can help the team tie up the AL Division Series at 2-2 with a Game 4 victory at home. Two games in Detroit didn't go well for Oakland, but Bob Melvin's club regained the momentum Tuesday with a 2-0 victory to remain alive.
It was done with defense, as the A's limited the Tigers to four hits in the outing.
Detroit will go with Max Scherzer on the mound. He has been dealing with minor ankle and shoulder injuries but has otherwise looked sharp in his last 10 outings, going 6-1 with a 1.65 ERA over that span. Manager Jim Leyland has said that Scherzer is 100 percent healthy.
The Oakland Athletics avoided elimination by virtue of a 2-0 victory in Game 3 of their American League Division Series with the Tigers. The game was a pitching battle, with the two teams combining for nine hits. Oakland was able to do just enough in plating two runs, one coming on a Seth Smith home run, to live for another day.
Tigers fans were impressed with their team's pitching, but the hitting left something to be desired, according to Al Beaton of SB Nation's Tigers blog Bless You Boys:
Anibal Sanchez: Sanchez deserved much, much better, tossing a quality start of 6 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.
Octavio Dotel: Can't beat playoff experience.
Phil Coke: He was OK, which is awesome considering his recent struggles. And we got a finger point.
Rick Porcello: 1 pitch, 1 out. How long before the cries of "Porcello for closer" start?
1 BIG DAMN HISS:
The offense: We've already learned 4 hits won't win in the regular season, no reason to expect things to change in the playoffs, right?
The A's will try to hold Detroit's lineup down again in Game 4 on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. PT at the Oakland Coliseum.
The A's staved off elimination with a 2-0 win on Tuesday night. A.J. Griffin takes to the hill to try and even up the series against the Tigers on Wednesday.
Pitcher Brett Anderson shut down the Tigers through six innings and Yoenis Cespedes and Seth Smith provided all the limited offense the A's needed to stave off elimination.
Anderson needed 80 pitches to get through six innings, holding the Tigers to two hits and two walks while striking out six. He handed the game off to the A's bullpen who closed the door on the Tigers, highlighted by Sean Doolittle striking out the side in the eighth inning. Grant Balfour pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of the postseason.
Anderson was helped by Cespedes and Coco Crisp in the outfield as each player made stellar plays to hold the Tigers scoreless. Crisp robbed Prince Fielder of a home run early in the game to keep the A's up 1-0.
It was the only fly ball Anderson allowed. The Tigers grounded out 11 times and struck out six times.
Smith connected to make it 2-0 in the fifth inning off of Anibal Sanchez. The A's wouldn't need the run cushion, however, as only two Tigers would make it on base in the final three innings.
The A's took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, then Seth Smith extended the lead with a solo home run in the fifth inning. Oakland has just two hits since the first inning, but has done enough against Tigers' starter Anibal Sanchez to take the lead.
Oakland got a tremendous start from Brett Anderson, who didn't allow a run and surrendered just two hits over six innings. Anderson struck out six and while he threw just 80 pitches, Bob Melvin decided to turn to his bullpen and brought in Ryan Cook to begin the seventh inning. Anderson was making his first start since suffering an oblique injury late in the season.
Sanchez wasn't quite as strong as Anderson, but has still been very good. Sanchez has allowed two runs on four hits over six innings. Prince Fielder, who narrowly missed a home run earlier in the game, will leadoff the seventh inning for the Tigers.
Coco Crisp led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and advanced to second base when Stephen Drew walked. Crisp then came into score when Yoenis Cespedes singled to center field. With runners at first and second and no outs, the Athletics were unable to capitalize further with Josh Reddick eventually grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Brett Anderson started the game for the Athletics and has been strong through his first three innings of work. Anderson has given up just two hits while striking out three batters. He's also been efficient with his pitches, needing 39 through the first three innings.
After allowing the first three batters to reach, Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez has settled down. Sanchez has given up three hits through three innings while striking out two. The Tigers nearly tied the game in the top of the second inning when Prince Fielder drove a ball deep into right center field, but Crisp made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Fielder of a home run.
Here is all the relevant info you need for Game 3 of the ALDS between the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics, which will be televised on TBS at 6:07 PM PT, 9:07 PM ET. Anibal Sanchez takes the mound for Detroit and will face Brett Anderson.
The Oakland A's second half of the season has had the plot line of a children's sports film. Now down 0-2 to the Detroit Tigers, there is a possibility that the story could be coming to a less than happy ending.
However, if the A's can summon some of the magic that got them to the postseason in the first place, they could have a slightly new look to the O.co Coliseum for the ALCS.
Tarps in the upper deck of the Coliseum have been in place since 2006 due to low ticket sales for the A's and the Raiders. CSN Bay Area is reporting if the A's can turn the series around by winning three straight games and advancing to the ALCS, the tarps are coming off to allow for more fans. 2006 was the last time the Athletics made ALCS. They ended being swept in the series by the same Detroit Tigers that have the A's on the brink of elimination.
Aside from the A's future in the playoffs, one question remains: what has accumulated under those tarps after six years?
The A's are facing elimination in their series against the Detroit Tigers, but they still believe the season can be extended.
The Detroit Tigers, behind an error, a wild pitch, and a sac fly, came from behind to defeat the Oakland Athletics, 5-4.
Neshek spent two days at home grieving with his wife before rejoining the team at her behest.
The A's dropped Game 1 of the ALDS to the Tigers and their ace, Justin Verlander. But they aren't freaking out just yet.
The A's will look to even the series with the Tigers behind another rookie pitcher
It's hard to see the Tigers losing a best-of-five series until this Justin Verlander goes away.
This Justin Verlander being the cyborg from Asgard, dominating and intimidating. It's an oversimplification to suggest he's walking best-of-five victory, sure. But Verlander pitching two out of five potential games is a heckuva advantage. The Detroit Tigers struggled to get a sustained rally together, but they defeated the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the division series behind Verlander, winning 3-1.
The scary thing: Verlander wasn't perfect.
I guess by definition, he's never been perfect. He was more imperfect than normal, then. Coco Crisp led the game off with a home run on a 1-2 pitch, a 95-m.p.h. fastball right down the hearth of the plate. And even after that, Verlander struggled with his command at times, walking four -- just the fifth time in 34 starts this season in which he's walked four. What's more, home-plate umpire Jim Reynolds was somewhere between the rulebook and Eric Gregg, which sounds like an especially awful Christopher Cross song. From the invaluable Brooks Baseball:
That's from the catcher's perspective, and what you're looking for are the orange squares (the strikes) and green squares (the balls) on the left side -- those would be on the outside corner to left-handed hitters. A's hitters swung at a lot of them, and Reynolds called a lot of them for both sides; if Verlander were at his best, this could have been one of those games.
Instead, it was still a magnificent performance from Verlander, and it had the classic feel -- where he started at 95, then ramped up to 97/98 by the end. He pitched a full seven innings, throwing 121 pitches and striking out 11. The Crisp homer was the only run he allowed.
His opposite number, A's starter Jarrod Parker pitched quite well, too. Parker had a brief taste of postseason experience last season with the Diamondbacks, but the taste was something like licorice floating around a warm Bud Light; he allowed two hits and a run in a third of an inning in a loss to the Brewers. He fared much better as a starter this year, going 6⅓ innings, allowing eight runners and striking out five.
Parker got into trouble early, allowing two straight deflected hits to start the game. Austin Jackson doubled off the glove of shortstop Stephen Drew, and he moved to third on a Quintin Berry single of the glove of third baseman Josh Donaldson. Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play to tie the score at 1-1.
In the third inning, Omar Infante hit a one-out double, and he scored all the way from second when Parker couldn't field a ball up the line:
The Tigers take a 1-0 series lead into Sunday's Game 2, in which Tommy Milone will go for the A's against Doug Fister.
This story was originally published on Baseball Nation.
The Oakland Athletics got off to the start they wanted after Coco Crisp started things off with a home run, but the team has been unable to get anything going since and now find themselves down 3-1 after seven innings of play.
After Omar Infante doubled to left in the third, Quintin Berry was able to hit an infield single to A's pitcher Jarrod Parker, who was unable to field it cleanly. The play allowed Infante to score from second.
Tigers catcher Alex Avila clubbed an opposite field home run to give Detroit a 3-1 lead in the fifth. So far, the two additional runs have proved to be more than enough with Tigers ace Justin Verlander on the mound.
The right-handed starting pitcher had retired eight straight batters (six of which came via the strikeout), before walking the nine-hole hitter Cliff Pennington with two down in the seventh on his 120th pitch of the game
Detroit chased A's starting pitcher Jarrod Parker with one down in the seventh, forcing A's manager Bob Melvin to go to reliever Pat Neshek. The righty was able to strand the runners and escape the jam.
The Oakland A's got off to a fast start in Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS, but it was answered by the Tigers and the game is tied at 1-1 after the first inning.
Oakland would continue to make Verlander work as Yoenis Cespedes drew a walk. No other batter reached base, but Verlander was forced to throw 26 pitches. That's a good sign for the A's.
The Tigers fought back when Austin Jackson led off the bottom half with a double, followed by an infield single from Quintin Berry that third baseman Josh Donaldson was able to only knock down.
Jackson scored when Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play.
A's starter Jarrod Parker threw 17 pitches in the first inning at Comerica Park. Games 1 and 2 are in Detroit, with the series switching to Oakland for Game 3.
The Oakland A's have announced their lineup for Game 1 of their American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers. Sunday's ALDS matchup will be Oaklands first playoff game since 2006.
The series between the winners of the AL West and Central, begins on Saturday at Detroit's Comerica Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. PT with television coverage on TBS.
Pitching: Jarrod Parker
Pitching: Justin Verlander
The Oakland Athletics released their 25-man roster before their AL Division Series matchup against the Detroit Tigers.
Jarrod Parker will be on the mound for the A's when Oakland opens its series with the Tigers.
The AL Central-champion Detroit Tigers aren't as convinced as Vegas that they're the favorites to win their ALDS matchup with the Oakland Athletics.
Here are the announced gametimes for the ALDS between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers. Game 1 takes place Saturday, October 6th and will start at around 3:07 p.m. PT on the West Coast.
The Oakland Athletics will send Jarrod Parker to the mound for Game 1 of the ALDS against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers, with Tommy Milone starting Game 2 and potentially Brett Anderson in Game 3 and A.J. Griffin in Game 4.
How did the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers, who meet in the American League Division Series, find their way to the postseason?
The oddsmakers in Vegas didn't give great odds to the Giants or Athletics to win the World Series this year.
The Athletics, who are red-hot after winning the American League West on the final day of the season, are favored over the Tigers in the ALDS.
The second seeded Athletics and third seeded Tigers will open ALDS play on Saturday at Comerica Park.
The Oakland Athletics did not spend a single day this season in first place until today, when they dominated the Texas Rangers, 12-5, at the Oakland Coliseum to take the AL West Crown. And boy, are they celebrating in the East Bay this afternoon.
Manager Bob Melvin got stopped for an interview just minutes after the game and was almost without words, making sure to give General Manager Billy Beane a big hug before taking questions. Melvin notes how unselfish the team was, and how important the fans are to them.
Derek Norris, who went 2-3 with a solo home run in the eighth inning, gets interviewed after a champagne bath in the Athletics clubhouse:
You can also check out this photo gallery from CSN to view more of the festivities.
Only two other teams have spent a single day in sole possession of first, and go on to win a division or pennant in Major League history: the 2006 Minnesota Twins and the 1951 New York Giants, they of Bobby Thompson's now-famous "Shot Heard Round the World."
Congratulations to Bob Melvin, Billy Beane and all the Athletics on their amazing season.
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