Postion-by-position look at the American League Division Series

  • Oakland Athletics designated hitter Jonny Gomes, right, talks with teammate Brandon Inge before batting practice in preparation for Game 1 of the American League division baseball series against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


Largely because of Justin Verlander, the rest of the AL playoff field was hoping the White Sox would take out the Tigers. This could be the year Verlander establishes himself as a postseason weapon. It was supposed to happen in 2011, but a Game 1 rainout messed him up. The group behind Verlander (Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez) was strong down the stretch, but Scherzer's sore shoulder is a big concern. Rookie Jarrod Parker is the ace in Oakland's rotation, which because of the suspension of Bartolo Colon and injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson could be an all-rookie group. Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin were 20-11 combined. <b>Edge:</b> Tigers


Among playoff teams, only the Reds had a lower relief ERA than the A's. Rookie Ryan Cook was an All-Star, but Grant Balfour ended the season as the closer, with Cook working in front of him. Lefty Sean Doolittle, another rookie, could see a lot of Prince Fielder. Tigers closer Jose Valverde is sure to draw the ire of fans at the Oakland Coliseum, which would be great theater if he gets a chance to close out the series. <b>Edge: </b>A's


Miguel Cabrera finished strong to win the Triple Crown and help Detroit win the Central. But the Tigers averaged only 3.6 runs in their last 12 games. The A's hit more home runs than the Tigers and were the highest-scoring team after the All-Star break. They have power throughout the order, with Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes the biggest threats and Jonny Gomes and Brandon Moss also game-changers. <b>Edge: </b>A's


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