Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics (+109, 7)
The Detroit Tigers finally found their offensive form in Game 4 and used it to force a decisive Game 5 in the American League Division Series. The Tigers will head back on the road, where they managed a total of three runs in the first two games, and visit the Oakland Athletics for Game 5 on Thursday. Detroit still is not getting much from Miguel Cabrera but the supporting cast, led by Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta, is stepping up.
The Tigers had scored in only two innings in the first three games to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-five series but overcame a pair of deficits in Tuesday’s 8-6 triumph. The Athletics finally showed some vulnerability in the bullpen, which had three relievers combine to allow five runs in the final two innings of Game 4. Detroit won a Game 5 in Oakland in last season’s ALDS behind a four-hit shutout from Justin Verlander, who is expected to get the nod on Thursday.
TV: 9:07 p.m. ET, TBS
WEATHER: Temperatures in the low 60s with clear skies and winds blowing WSW at 6 mph.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Sonny Gray (0-0, 0.00)
Verlander struck out 11 and allowed four hits in Saturday’s Game 2, but did not factor in the decision when Oakland ended up claiming a 1-0 victory. The former Cy Young Award winner has made three ALDS starts against the Athletics in the last two seasons and yielded a total of one run and 11 hits while striking out 33 in 23 innings. Verlander threw at least 117 pitches in each one of those starts.
Gray shut out the Tigers for eight innings while striking out nine and allowing four hits in Game 2 before Oakland prevailed on Stephen Vogt's single in the ninth. "Obviously, it came down to the last game Sonny pitched in similar conditions in our ballpark,'' Melvin said. "That's the route we're going to go.” Colon, who yielded three runs and 10 hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss in Game 1, could be available in relief, but a decision on that will not be made until game time.
* Over is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
* Under is 7-2-1 in the last 10 meetings in Oakland.
* Tigers are 6-2 in Verlanders last eight starts vs. Athletics.
* Under is 10-4 in Verlanders last 14 starts vs. Athletics.
1. Cabrera is 4-for-16 with four singles and one RBI in the ALDS while fighting through abdominal and groin injuries.
2. Oakland CF Coco Crisp is 7-for-9 with four runs scored in the last two games.
3. Detroit RHP Max Scherzer came out of the bullpen in Game 4 and earned the win in relief. He should be available again in Game 5.