Oct 8, 2013, 11:58 AM EDT
ALDS GAME 4: OAKLAND ATHLETICS (2-1) vs. DETROIT TIGERS (1-2)
Series: Athletics lead 2-1
Where: Comerica Park, Detrioit, MI
Gametime: 5:00 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Sunny, 65 degrees, wind 7 mph
Starting pitchers: OAK – Dan Straily (10-8, 3.96) / DET – Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67)
Yesterday I laid out all the reasons the odds were in Detroit’s favor in Game 3, they were home with the AL’s ERA champion on the mound and Jarrod Parker had a terrible finish to the season. Lo and behold, Anibal Sanchez folded and the Athletics marched to victory behind a barrage of three home runs.
Now the Tigers find themselves on the brink of elimination with veteran Doug Fister set to pitch. They are still at home, but the Athletics have won two straight and their lineup is clicking.
Luckily for the Tigers, Fister has been excellent in the postseason over the years, holding a 2.97 ERA through six games, a span of 36 1/3 innings. He beat Oakland in last year’s playoffs as well, throwing seven innings of two-run ball in the 2012 ALDS.
Dan Straily, on the other hand, has never pitched in the playoffs. The 24-year-old rookie held a 3.96 ERA this year in his first full season in the majors. He faced the Tigers recently – on Aug. 28 in Detroit – and took the win after allowing just one run through six innings.
Once again the pitching matchups and home field advantage should favor the Tigers, but as we’ve learned over the last few days – and from years of watching playoff baseball – these games tend to be a tad unpredictable.
ALDS GAME 4: BOSTON RED SOX (2-1) vs. TAMPA BAY RAYS (1-2)
Series: Red Sox lead 2-1
Where: Tropicana Field in Tampa, FL
Gametime: 8:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: In a dome
Starting pitchers: BOS – Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17) / TB – Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 5.17)
Boston was oh so close to clinching an ALCS berth, but a late run to tie and a walkoff homer by Jose Lobaton kept the Rays and this series alive. It’s rather amazing that Lobaton would not have been in the game if it weren’t for rookie Wil Myers coming down with leg cramps.
Now Tampa will look to force a Game 5 with 2011 AL Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson on the mound. Hellickson was terrific in his first three years in the majors, but this year took a major step back. He was also awful down the stretch in September, allowing 11 earned runs in his last three starts across 12 2/3 innings.
Hellickson has had some success against the Red Sox this year, though, holding a 3.44 ERA in three starts with 20 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings. He also has one postseason experience to draw from, albeit a forgettable one. In Tampa’s 2011 ALDS against Texas he lasted just four innings after coughing up three runs on three home runs.
Peavy also has a bit of an unfortunate history in the playoffs. Pitching for the Padres in 2005 and 2006, he got rocked twice against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS round. In ’05 he gave up eight runs in just 4 1/3 innings, and in ’06 he allowed five runs on 11 hits and was yanked in the sixth inning. In both of these situations he was the ace taking the ball in Game 1, so maybe less pressure will help him. He was also just 24 and 25 years old in those series, now he is 32 with 12 years in the major leagues.
NL EAST STANDINGS
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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