The speculation is now over, and all we have to do now is nervously anticipate the beginning of the 2013 ALDS, a rematch between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers. As the A’s not only look to exact revenge on the Tigers for being responsible for the last two postseason exits for the A’s, but also look to finally make a deep postseason run and grasp that elusive tenth World Series title, and fifth in Oakland, the 25 man who will attempt to complete the first step are set.
There were some unconventional selections, and a surprise selection, but for the most part the roster was put together just about exactly as many anticipated it would.
The rotation will be anchored by Bartolo Colon, followed by Sonny Gray, Jarrod Parker, and the surprise of the lot, Dan Straily. A.J. Griffin was expected to be slotted in the fourth position in the rotation, but the surprise news that Griffin has been suffering from some elbow tendinitis made this decision an easy one. Tommy Milone‘s omission was not a surprise, as he’s been on the outside looking in on the starting rotation. The bullpen will be comprised of the usual suspects, with Pat Neshek and Evan Scribner the only notable omissions.
Perhaps the most interesting move was the inclusion of three catchers on the roster. The impetus for this move was the abdominal injury to Nate Freiman. It has been reported by various beat writers that Derek Norris has been taking grounders at first base, which clearly was done in order to improve the versatility of this team with Freiman on the shelf. It’s a shame that Nate won’t be included because he’s been a very nice surprise this season. On the bright side, Kurt Suzuki will get to play, which I didn’t expect to see. Bob Melvin will now have the luxury of playing matchups a little bit with the catchers, and Derek Norris will be a massive weapon against Drew Smyly. The Tigers have a very right handed heavy pitching staff, so while Norris won’t get many chances versus lefties, the glut of right handers will be good for left handed hitters like Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Daric Barton (although Barton’s splits are about even).
Overall, I like the A’s chances in this series. The specter of 2012 is nonexistent, despite the ugly end to the series in Detroit in August, the A’s absolutely dominated the Tigers in their ballpark and should have swept the four game set. The fun is just about to begin.