Pratt's A's-Tigers ALDS capsule

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Pratt's A's-Tigers ALDS capsule

A'S-TIGERS ALDS CAPSULE

Key facts:
A's: 94-68 (AL West champions)
Tigers: 88-74 (AL Central champions)
Head to head record: Tigers won the series 4-3. (Split four in Oakland in May, lost 2 of 3 in Detroit in September.)
Runs: Detroit 726 (6th in AL) Oakland 713 (8th in AL)
ABHR: Detroit 33.6 (9th in AL) Oakland 28.3 (6th in AL)
Starting Pitchers ERA: Detroit 3.75 (3rd in AL) Oakland 3.48 (2nd in AL)
Bullpen ERA: Detroit 3.76 (2nd in AL) Oakland 3.80 (3rd in AL)
STACKING THEM UP

Starting rotation
The A's rotation has overcome a lot this season. They've lost Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon, and Brett Anderson. The rookies have found a way to step it up and succeed. Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone both tied with a team-leading 13 wins this season which is an Oakland rookie record. The Tigers will be able to throw reigning American League MVP and Cy Young award-winner Justin Verlander in game one. He is 2-0 against the A's. Verlander (239) and Max Scherzer (231) led Major League Baseball in strikeouts. Doug Fister also struck out nine consecutive batters to set an American League record on September 27. EDGE: TIGERSBullpen
The A's bullpen has been the backbone of the team. Now well rested after a few days off, Oakland's arms will be ready to lock down late leads or eat innings. The A's bullpen has been better than Detroit's all season. Furthermore, Oakland's closer Grant Balfour hasn't blown a save since re-taking over ninth inning duties on August 11, and is 1-0, with 17 saves, and a 2.08 ERA in that timeframe. Tigers' closer Jose Valderde finished the season with three saves in as many days but hasn't been as consistent this year. The A's also have an All-Star set up man in Ryan Cook, and up-and-coming rookie Sean Doolittle. EDGE: A'SOutfield
The A's three best offensive players are in the outfield. They also might be the A's three best defensive players. Josh Reddick hit 32 home runs this season and finished second in the American League with 15 outfield assists. Yoenis Cespedes hit 23 home runs which is the third most in Oakland history by a rookie, and has a cannon for a throwing arm in left field. Coco Crisp has great range defensively and ranked fourth in the AL with a .367 average with runners in scoring position. EDGE: A'SInfield
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder Enough said. EDGE: TIGERS Catchers
The Tigers have Alex Avila and Gerald "G-Money" Laird, while the A's have George Kottaras and Derek Norris in a platoon.The A's young catchers have combined have equalled one productive backstop. With the Tigers' righty heavy rotation expect Kottaras to see most of the time behind the dish. Avila had a very productive season this year but fell off a bit in 2012. The A's hold the edge in the power department at catcher so I am inclined to give them the advantage but not by much. EDGE: A'SOverall defense
The Tigers made 99 errors this season. The A's made 111. The Tigers had a better fielding percentage (.983) than the A's (.982). The A's have been susceptible to making defensive mistakes in big games. The Tigers have subpar defense on the left side of the infield. Baseball Prospectus tracks a stat called Defensive Efficiency Rating that tracks the percentage of balls hit into play that are converted into outs. The A's ranked ranked third with a .723 while the Tigers ranked 27th with .693 percentage. EDGE: A'S Overall offense
The A's lead Major League Baseball in runs scored (394) and home runs (112) in the second half. Detroit scored 726 runs this season to Oakland's 713. The A's hit 32 more home runs, and stole 63 more bases. The Tigers had a higher on-base percentage (.335 .310) and a higher slugging percentage (.422.404) than the A's. With the Tigers' big boppers in the middle of the order, and the solid seasons of Austin Jackson (.300, 16 HR, 66 RBI) and Delmon Young (.267, 18 HR, 74 RBI), the "O" edge goes to the "D."EDGE: TIGERSManagerintangibles
What A's manager Bob Melvin has done with this team is spectacular. He is communicative and exploits the match ups to get the most out of his team. Melvin said Tigers' Manager Jim Leyland was his manager in Instructional League in 1981. I think it isn't necessarily fair to say the student has surpassed the teacher, because Leyland is still holding his own at the highest level. Leyland leads all active MLB managers with 1,676 wins. Leyland has a disadvantage because he has nothing but righties in the rotation. That will give Melvin the ability to start with a lefty heavy lineup and then bring in his key right handed hitters if Leyland goes to a lefty. Melvin is a strong AL Manager of the Year candidate, Leyland is one of the best ever. Too close to call. EDGE: SPLITOverall edge
The A's are considered the underdogs in this series. They have home field advantage but it doesn't feel like it with the first two games of the series taking place in Detroit. Oakland finished strong and never held sole possession of first place until winning the final game of the season. Detroit also finished strong finally taking first place from the White Sox on September 26. Oakland however has been the hottest team in baseball since June 2 with a 71-38 record. They won more games than the Tigers, they have been a hotter team for a sustained period of time, and they should be favored in this series. EDGE: A'S

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

A new team believes in Stephen Vogt.

The former A's catcher, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

The A's announced the transaction shortly before their game against the White Sox.

News of the Brewers making the waiver claim was first reported by ESPN.

The Brewers were the only team to place a waiver claim on Vogt, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Vogt, a clubhouse leader and one of the longest tenured A's, hit just .217 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games this season.