The A's and Barry Zito who has a 1-0 record and a 1.13 ERA in the playoffs take on the Detroit Tigers and Nate Robertson who has a 0-1 record and an 11.12 ERA.
Zito has been quite the postseason pitcher so far in his career. He's got a career 4-2 postseason record and a 2.43 ERA. He's allowed 14 walks while striking out 33 over 40 2/3 innings pitched. Of course the walks shouldn't be a problem against the Tigers as long as they don't break their free-swinging tendencies. And as Jim Leyland said when asked if they would try and change their approach at the plate, "Well, we are who we are."
This game is an important game to set the tone for the series. Of course, winning or losing the first game doesn't mean nearly as much in the ALCS as in the division series.
The A's lineup looks like this:
The A's haven't exactly hit Robertson well in the past. The roster has a .216 average and a .279 OBP. The only player with more than three ABs to have success against Robertson is Frank Thomas. So if Leyland and company have studied up, they will probably pitch Thomas carefully all night. It will be up to the guys around Thomas to come through.
The Tigers throw out the following lineup to go against Zito:
Look out for Polanco tonight (if the Tigers win this series, I imagine Polanco will have a LOT to do with it). He has seven hits in 11 ABs against Zito. Casey also has three hits in five ABs including a home run and Pudge has hit .308 against Barry. This will be a big challenge for Zito considering all the guys in the Tigers lineup that have hit him well.
We're in the ALCS, ladies and gents. The national stage focuses on Oakland in October for once. I must be dreaming.
LET'S GO OAK-LAND!!!!!!!