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A capsule look at Tigers-Athletics playoff series

Thursday - 10/3/2013, 5:10pm  ET

The Associated Press

A look at the best-of-five American League division series between the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics:

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Schedule: (All times EDT) Game 1, Friday, at Oakland (9:37 p.m.); Game 2, Saturday, at Oakland (9:07 p.m.); Game 3, Monday, Oct. 7, at Detroit (TBA); x-Game 4, Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Detroit (TBA); x-Game 5, Thursday, Oct. 10, at Oakland (TBA). (All games on TBS or MLB Network).

x-if necessary.

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Season Series: Athletics won 4-3.

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Projected Lineups:

Tigers: CF Austin Jackson (.272, 12 HRs, 49 RBIs), RF Torii Hunter (.304, 17, 84), 3B Miguel Cabrera (MLB-leading .348, 44, 137), 1B Prince Fielder (.279, 25, 106), DH Victor Martinez (.301, 14, 83), LF Jhonny Peralta (.303, 11, 55), 2B Omar Infante (.318, 10, 51), C Alex Avila (.227, 11, 47), SS Jose Iglesias (.303, 3, 29 with Boston and Detroit).

Athletics: CF Coco Crisp (.261, 22, 66, 21 SBs), 3B Josh Donaldson (.301, 24, 93, 37 2Bs), SS Jed Lowrie (.290, 15, 75, 45 2Bs), DH or LF Brandon Moss (.256, 30, 87), LF or DH Yoenis Cespedes (.240, 26, 80), RF Josh Reddick (.226, 12, 56), C Stephen Vogt (.252, 4, 16) or Derek Norris (.246, 9, 30), 1B Daric Barton (.269, 3, 16), 2B Eric Sogard (.266, 2, 35).

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Projected Rotations:

Tigers: RH Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90, 240 Ks), RH Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46 ERA), RH Anibal Sanchez (14-8, AL-best 2.57), RH Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67).

Athletics: RH Bartolo Colon (18-6, 2.65, 4.03 K/BB ratio), RH Sonny Gray (5-3, 2.67), RH Jarrod Parker (12-8, 3.97, 25 HRs allowed), RH Dan Straily (10-8, 3.96, 124 Ks).

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Relievers:

Tigers: RH Joaquin Benoit (4-1, 2.01, 24/26 saves), LH Drew Smyly (6-0, 2.37), RH Jose Veras (0-5, 3.02, 21/25 saves with Houston and Detroit), RH Rick Porcello (13-8, 4.32, 32 appearances, 29 starts), RH Al Alburquerque (4-3, 4.59, 70 Ks, 34 BBs in 49 innings), LH Darin Downs (0-2, 4.84).

Athletics: RH Grant Balfour (1-3, 2.59, 38/41 saves, 10.3 K/9), RH Ryan Cook (6-4, 2.54, 2 saves), LH Sean Doolittle (5-5, 3.13, 2 saves, .188 BA vs LH), LF Brett Anderson (1-4, 6.04, 3 saves), LH Jerry Blevins (5-0, 3.15), RH Dan Otero (2-0, 1.38). RH Jesse Chavez (2-4, 3.92).

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Matchups:

This is a rematch of last year's division series won by the Tigers in five games behind Verlander's four-hit, 11-strikeout gem in a 6-0 victory in the deciding game. ... Tigers took two of three in Oakland in April, and A's took three out of four in Detroit in late August. ... Oakland scored 34 runs in that second series, including six in the final game against Scherzer. Detroit rallied with four runs in the ninth off Balfour to win that one 7-6 on Hunter's game-ending, three-run homer. ... A's manager Bob Melvin relies heavily on platoons to get his hitters the most advantageous matchups. But that won't be as crucial against a Tigers team that has only righty starters. That will keep Moss in the middle of the lineup each game. He had 4 HRs and 10 RBIs vs. Tigers this season and was tied for sixth in the majors with 26 HRs off RHP. ... INF Alberto Callaspo and OF Chris Young will likely be relegated to bench duty with no lefty starters. ... Lowrie (.385, 5 2Bs) and Donaldson (.357) hit Tigers pitching well this season. ... Parker got rocked in his only start vs. Tigers, allowing eight runs in 3 1-3 innings. ... Peralta was suspended 50 games as part of baseball's Biogenesis drug investigation, and Detroit traded for Iglesias to play SS. Now that Peralta is back, he could split time in LF with Andy Dirks. ... Although the A's are a different team than the strikeout-prone bunch that lost to Detroit in the division series last season, the Tigers bring the same powerful pitching to the playoffs. Detroit pitchers led the majors with a record 1,428 strikeouts.

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Big Picture:

Tigers: Detroit (93-69) won the AL Central by one game over Cleveland, but that slim margin was deceiving. The Tigers were in control from mid-August on. ... Martinez hit .361 after the All-Star break and Fielder batted .337 in September. ... The bullpen was a work in progress early, but Benoit has performed well as the closer, and Smyly has been terrific for the most part. Hard-throwing right-hander Bruce Rondon is unlikely to pitch because of elbow problems. ... Scherzer was baseball's lone 20-game winner, and the Tigers look to have the same excellent depth in their rotation as they did when they won the AL pennant last year. ... Detroit manager Jim Leyland is making his eighth postseason appearance. He is 39-34 in postseason games. ... The Tigers lost to Texas in the 2011 AL championship series and were swept by San Francisco in last year's World Series. They have not won the World Series since 1984.

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