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Road teams look to clinch in ALDS Game 4’s

Oct 8, 2013, 11:58 AM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today


Series: Athletics lead 2-1
 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.


Series: Red Sox lead 2-1
 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.

  1. TimDz - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Off topic…..
    MLB trade rumors say that Toronto covets Wilson Ramos…..
    Don’t even answer the phone, Rizzo …

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      So let ’em overpay for McCann. He can enforce Prestigious Old-School Ways in the AL. That’ll be entertaining.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      But of course you answer the phone! You find out who Toronto is willing to give up (i.e., who they don’t see as an unmovable piece of their future). Even if you’re not willing to talk about Wilson Ramos, you talk about other options. Just knowing that Toronto might be willing to part to x, y, or z is useful intelligence.

      P.S. – I recognize you were being more figurative than literal; just needed to make the point that a good GM is always talking with his counterparts.

  2. NatsLady - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    So I saw that the Barves players dissed Larry because he predicted they would lose the NLDS in 4. (He threw out the ceremonial first pitch to a MASCOT).

    I’m remembering the ceremony and hugs for Davey Johnson. I would bet a lot of money there were players who didn’t agree with everything Davey did, but in the end, you celebrate, you honor the greats in your profession. I don’t get the Braves AT ALL. No manners.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      I’m sorry, which Larry?

      • NatsLady - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Chipper Jones.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        Gotcha; thanks.

  3. natsfan1a - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:22 PM


  4. nats128 - Oct 8, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Coco Crisp is now Clutcho Crisp

  5. David Proctor - Oct 8, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Posted in the new thread, but this one seems to be a bit more active:

    The Arizona Fall League began today. Interestingly, Alex Meyer pitched against the team that our prospects played on. Meyer wasn’t that great: gave up 5 hits and 3ER in 3 innings. 2 Nats prospects got hits off of him: Brian Goodwin and Matt Skole. Though Goodwin was picked off first base. Goodwin is 2/5 today and Skole is 2/4 with a walk and a homer.

  6. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Awww, I was kinda hoping to see the A’s clinch, but it fell apart for them after that dinger/fan interference. Well, that, and Scherzer’s pitching. Yeah. Anyhoo, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Was kinda hoping the Rays could hold on as well. Not that I’m a Tampa fan, but I found it easier to root for them than for Boston.

    As for tonight, all I can say is go Bucs! :-)





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