The Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics had high hopes heading into the 2013 Major League Baseball season. Both clubs advanced to the playoffs in 2012 -- with Detroit advancing to the World Series -- and while competition certainly lied in their respective divisions, most fans expected the A's and Tigers to be competitive right from Opening Day. Detroit and Triple Crown-winning MVP Miguel Cabrera ultimately fell to the San Francisco Giants in last season's World Series but despite championship defeat, manager Jim Leyland and company were confident in their ability to recapture the 2012 magic.
Winners of their third-straight American League Central division title, Leyland and the Tigers will now prepare to travel to Oakland in a rematch of last season's American League Championship Series, a series the Tigers went on to win in five games. Proud of the way his team played from the start of spring training through the regular season, Leyland says his club holds the ability to win ballgames even when some people may expect failure, a trait he's seen develop over the year's with his ballclub in Detroit.
"I'm as proud of this team as any team," Leyland said. "I mean, people were setting us up for failure from day one. We have a good team. If we don't win the division, there's something wrong. Well, it's not easy to live with that from Spring Training, all winter and through the whole season. And these guys did that. They showed me something."
One of the many reasons the club has been so successful over the past few seasons is the play of star third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Winning the 2012 Triple Crown and MVP awards, Cabrera never struggles to gain attention, even from many players on the Oakland A's including talented third baseman Josh Donaldson.
"I've watched his videos a lot as far as a hitter," Donaldson said regarding using Cabrera's techniques as a learning tool. "He's a highly talented hitter, and I really appreciate the way he goes about hitting and I try to learn from him at what he's doing. I feel he's one of the best hitters in the game that goes to right field, and what's helped me be able to take it to the next level this year is the ability to be able to hit it to right field. Watching him over the course of time has definitely helped me."
GAME 1 Pitching Matchup
DET: Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 ERA, 240 K)
OAK: Bartolo Colon (18-6, 2.65 ERA, 117 K)
ALDS Game 1: Oakland vs. Detroit - DATE, TIME & TV INFO
DATE: Friday, Oct. 4
TIME: 9:30pm, ET
TV COVERAGE: TBS
LIVE STREAM: CLICK HERE