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Open Thread: ALDS Game 4 - Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers (1)

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The A's put up a near-perfect game last night to extend the series to Game 4. Can A.J. Griffin channel his own Brett Anderson and keep the hard-hitting Tigers off the board for a second straight game to extend the ALDS to a winner-take-all Game 5?

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Well, we know it's possible. The other Bay Area team just did it a mere hour ago; they overcame a 0-2 deficit to force a winner-take-all Game 5. The A's are in position to do the same thing, except today's game was always the one we worried about. The closest thing the A's have to an ace besides the incredible Jarrod Parker is Brett Anderson, and he saved the series last night with a gutsy shutout performance against the Tigers. But today's game brings us untested A.J. Griffin, coming off a few poor starts, including last week's game against the Rangers, where the A's rallied from 4 down to win the AL West pennant. If Griffin is looking for his turn to put it all out there and be remembered, there will never be a better time than right now, in what is still a win-or-go-home scenario for our 2012 Oakland Athletics, who are hoping there is a little magic left in this season.

They will need it tonight; things aren't favored for the A's offense, either. Max Scherzer strikes out a lot of batters. I mean, a lot. I mean a lot of batters that don't play for the Oakland A's, either, and well, you know that the A's love to strike out. I mean a lot. The A's have got to stay out of 0-2 holes and hit the ball to the Tigers' defense. Griffin will need more support than Anderson did, and the A's have got to find a way to get to Scherzer if they want another shot at Verlander tomorrow.

Of course, the A's still have the 10th man on the field at home. If you're part of the sold-out crowd tonight, bring it like last night. In case you haven't seen the quote from

Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, who pitched well but couldn’t match Anderson, said that it was the loudest stadium he had pitched in.

"Detroit, they have pretty good fans," Sanchez said. "[Tigers] fans really cheer for the team. They support the team and give you a loud ovation for everything. But the fans here are so loud … you can’t hear anything from your teammates, so you just hear fans yell. But it’s really fun."

That's a huge complement from the opposing pitcher; putting Oakland fans above his own. He's not wrong; my TV was shaking with the crowd noise; the atmosphere was absolutely electric. And knowing that this game is so heavily favored for the Tigers? I think I speak for all of us when I say that we relish the underdog role.

I could go on and on about the importance of this game, but the truth is that the 2012 Oakland Athletics are already winners. But more than that, Welcome to the Party. The A's are too fun, too loose, too happy, and too unexpected to think of Game 4 as anything but what it really is; one more night to play amazing October baseball in front of sold-out crowds. It's bonus baseball; it's happening in Oakland, and whether we get one more game or fifteen this season, it's been better than our wildest dreams.

But why stop here; everyone together: Let's play Game 5!