ALDS Game 4: Key Matchups

ALDS Game 4: Key Matchups
October 10, 2012, 8:34 pm
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OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics are still playing with their backs against the wall. A Game Four win keeps their season alive and puts the pressure on Detroit to close it out in a must-win Game Five in front of a sell-out Oakland crowd. Facing elimination, the A's are sticking with their one game at a time approach. Oakland's win on Tuesday night was their first over the Detroit Tigers in the postseason since 1972. Here are the key match ups to keep an eye on in this game.
Key Match Ups:Hostile Territory: The A's and Tigers both complimented the crowd at the Oakland Coliseum after Game Three. They were crazy loud from the first pitch to the final out. The fans will need to continue to swing the momentum in the A's favor with their energy. Detroit was the only American League team to make the postseason with a losing road record. They were 38-43 away from Comerica Park this season. A's lineup bookends vs. Max Scherzer: Coco Crisp is 2 for 5 in his career against Scherzer and Cliff Pennington is the only player in the A's lineup that has taken him deep. Josh Reddick is batting fifth and he is 3 for 5 with a triple off Scherzer. Strikeouts could hurt A's: Scherzer finished second in Major League Baseball with 231 strikeouts. The A's hitters struck out an American League record 1,387 times this season. In four career starts against the A's, Scherzer has accumulated 35 punchouts. It might be in the A's best interest to swing early in the count and try to put the ball in play. Heart of the Tigers lineup vs. A.J. Griffin: The A's have held Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to a combined .185 (5 for 27) average in this series. The Tigers' 3-4 hitters have been good against Griffin. Griffin's only loss this season came against the Tigers. In that game in Detroit on September 18, both Cabrera and Fielder hit homers off Griffin, and they each drove in two runs off him. Reaching for the Stars: Cabrera singled on Wednesday night and has reached base safely in all 14 of his career postseason games. Stephen Drew walked twice and has reached safely in all 10 of his playoff games. Quality work: Every starting pitcher in this series for both Detroit and Oakland have registered a quality start.

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