The Detroit Tigers visit the Oakland Athletics to decide the ALDS on Oct. 10. The Tigers are sending Justin Verlander to the mound to finish off the Athletics, and would start the ALCS on the road against the AL East champions if they do. This is happening in October 2013, although both Detroit and Oakland seem to be reenacting October 2012 at this point.
Exactly one year ago, the Athletics hosted Verlander and the Tigers in another ALDS Game 5, only to be completely shut down. Now the exact same scenario is taking place again, which gives Oakland the ultimate chance for revenge. Since Verlander hasn’t been his usual self for much of 2013, the Athletics have a real opening to get to him -- despite how he handcuffed them in Game 2 days ago.
Oakland had to rally from a 2-0 series deficit just to reach Game 5 last year, before Detroit ruined its comeback story and went on to the World Series. This time around, the Tigers are the one who erased a series deficit to get here, as they survived elimination and an early 3-0 hole in Game 4 on Oct. 8. As a result, Detroit has a very workable formula ahead.
Verlander’s dominance in Oakland last year led to the Tigers sweeping the AL East champion New York Yankees in the ALCS. This year, a repeat performance would put the Tigers in line to face the AL East champion Boston Red Sox. Of course, the Tigers got swept by the NL West champion San Francisco Giants in the World Series -- so if they face the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2013 Fall Classic, the formula would have to change then.
The Athletics already know a much uglier thing or two about doing the same thing over and over. Since 2000, Oakland has lost Game 5 of the ALDS five times, with four of those defeats coming at home. Given how the Athletics blew their last chance to advance and have Verlander looming, another heartbreaking ending looks inevitable.
To stop it, they are turning to rookie Sonny Gray instead of ace Bartolo Colon, since Gray dueled Verlander to a draw in Oakland’s Game 2 win. Will that history be the one to repeat itself after all?
The Tigers and Athletics will start finding out at 8:07 p.m. est on TBS.