The Oakland Athletics have a recent history of making the playoffs only to disappoint when the postseason begins.
They will set about changing that when they host the Detroit Tigers in the opener of the American League Division Series on Friday. The Tigers are enjoying their third straight trip to the postseason and advanced to the AL Championship Series in each of the past two seasons.
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View: Tigers ALDS roster
The Athletics made the playoffs six times since 2000 and advanced past the Division Series only once, when they were swept out of the ALCS by Detroit in 2006. The Tigers played heartbreaker for Oakland last October as well, claiming a 6-0 victory in a decisive Game 5 of the ALDS. The big difference this time around is the health of Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera, who is dealing with abdominal and groin injuries and managed just two extra-base hits in his final 25 games.
TV: 9:37 p.m. ET, TBS
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Bartolo Colon (18-6, 2.65)
Scherzer is the favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award and finished the season with a gem, striking out 10 and allowing two hits in seven scoreless innings at Minnesota. The 29-year-old punched out eight and yielded an unearned run on three hits 5 1/3 innings against Oakland in Game 4 last October but was left without a decision when the bullpen blew the save. Scherzer was lit up by the Athletics on Aug. 29, surrendering six runs (five earned) over five innings in another no-decision.
Colon finished up the season with four straight wins, posting a 1.04 ERA and issuing only four walks in that span. The burly veteran went up against Scherzer on Aug. 29 and did not factor in the decision, allowing one run on seven hits in five innings. Colon missed the playoffs last season but is 2-3 with a 3.61 ERA in nine career postseason starts.
1. Athletics LF Yoenis Cespedes (shoulder) is hoping to play the outfield on Friday but could be stuck at DH, leaving Brandon Moss in left.
2. Detroit RHP Bruce Rondon (elbow inflammation) and LHP Phil Coke (forearm) will not appear in the ALDS.
3. Oakland RHP A.J. Griffin, who posted a 3.83 ERA over 200 innings in the regular season, was left off the ALDS roster due to mild tendinitis in his right elbow.