We are now less than 24 hours away from the first game of the ALDS rematch between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers. In front of an expected crowd of over 48,000 at the O.co Coliseum, Bartolo Colon and Max Scherzer will take the mound as they duel for supremacy. Game 1 will be an opportunity for both teams to make statements at the beginning of this series. For the A’s, the objective is simple, to show that the dark cloud of last season’s series is gone. For Detroit, a chance to snatch away home field advantage from the A’s hangs in the balance.
Both Colon and Scherzer will likely finish atop the voting for AL Cy Young, quite possibly numbers one and two. With that in mind one would expect this game to be great duel between two extremely talented starters. They opposed one another back in August in Detroit, a game that would have been the second loss of the season for Scherzer had it not been for Torii Hunter‘s back breaking walk off grand slam against Grant Balfour in the bottom of the ninth inning. The A’s were going for the four game sweep in Detroit, and had battered the vaunted Tigers rotation in each game. Scherzer allowed six runs, five of those earned, in five innings of work that night. The white hot Brandon Moss and Jed Lowrie each took him deep in that game. Scherzer finished the season with a 21-3 mark and an ERA at 2.90 in what may very well be a Cy Young season.
Colon was making his first start off the disabled list that day, and while he wasn’t the dominant self we had seen for much of the season, he didn’t embarrass himself either. Colon worked through five innings, allowed just one earned run on seven hits, and threw just 73 pitches. Colon didn’t amass the win total that Scherzer did with an 18-6 record, but his 2.65 ERA was 1/4 of a run lower than his.
Scherzer will more than likely rack up his share of strikeouts tomorrow night, but the A’s will have to make him work to get them. Getting his pitch count up will enable them to get him out of the game as soon as possible and get to their soft bullpen. Left handed hitters will be the key to getting to Scherzer. Keep an eye on Coco Crisp, Brandon Moss, and Jed Lowrie, if those three have good games then it seems likely the A’s will emerge victorious.