Final Win Totals
October 3, 2012
All ten teams are set for the MLB playoffs on Friday, as two squads will get knocked out in the Wild Card play-in game. Following the marathon of a 162-game regular season, all the win totals were decided heading into the final day, eliminating any kind of worry for many meaningless contests on the last day of the campaign. However, it wasn't meaningless for the Orioles and Athletics, who head to the postseason after receiving little fanfare in spring training.
Baltimore played a very consistent season with few hiccups along the way, while obliterating its 69 ½ win total en route to a playoff berth. Buck Showalter's team suffered through just one losing streak of more than three games all season, which will not only help eclipse 70 victories, but put the Orioles in the driver's seat for a Wild Card berth. Meanwhile, Oakland sat 13 games behind Texas in late June, but put together a 50-25 record after the All-Star break to get into the postseason for the first time since losing the ALCS to Detroit in 2006.
However, several teams that had high expectations fell way short, including the Phillies, Red Sox, and Marlins. Philadelphia can use the injury excuse this season with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley all missing significant time. The Phillies made a late charge to get into the playoff hunt in the National League, but couldn't reach the 93 ½ win plateau posted in spring training. Boston never recovered from last season's meltdown, as Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford were all shipped off to Los Angeles in July, while David Ortiz missed the final few months with an Achilles' injury. The Red Sox actually put together a worse record this September (7-21) than they did in September 2011 (7-20), when Boston failed to qualify for the postseason.
Below is each team's win total from spring training and their actual win total following 162 games.
National League Win Totals
Team Win Total Result Over/Under
Arizona 86 ½ 81
Atlanta 86 ½ 94
Chicago Cubs 74 ½ 61
Cincinnati 87 ½ 97
Colorado 81 ½ 64
Houston 64 55
L.A. Dodgers 81 ½ 86
Miami 84 ½ 69
Milwaukee 84 ½ 83
N.Y. Mets 72 74
Philadelphia 93 ½ 81
Pittsburgh 73 ½ 79
San Diego 73 ½ 76
San Francisco 87 ½ 94
St. Louis 84 ½ 88
Washington 83 ½ 98
Projected Result Key: Over Under
American League Win Totals
Team Win Total Result Over/Under
Baltimore 69 ½ 93
Boston 90 69
Chicago White Sox 74 ½ 85
Cleveland 78 ½ 68
Detroit 92 ½ 88
Kansas City 80 72
LA Angels 92 ½ 89
Minnesota 73 ½ 66
NY Yankees 93 ½ 95
Oakland 71 ½ 94
Seattle 72 75
Tampa Bay 86 ½ 90
Texas 91 ½ 93
Toronto 80 ½ 73
Projected Result Key: Over Under
Wild Card Action
October 4, 2012
Friday is the first elimination day of the MLB playoffs as two teams will be sent home after 163 games. Two of the clubs participating are one year removed from playing in Game 7 of the World Series as the Cardinals and Rangers are scratching and clawing just to advance to the League Championship Series. St. Louis heads to Atlanta, while Baltimore makes the trip to Texas for the night-cap. We'll start at Turner Field with the Braves looking to wipe out the defending champs.
Cardinals at Braves - 5:07 PM EST
St. Louis knocked out Atlanta in last September's Wild Card race, erasing a 10 ½-game deficit en route to a title. Now, the Braves have an opportunity to exact revenge with the hottest pitcher in baseball taking the mound, as Atlanta is riding a 23-game winning streak when Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) starts dating back to 2010. The Braves have compiled a 12-0 record in Medlen's starts this season, including seven victories coming at Turner Field.
The Braves finished the season at 94-68, four games behind the Nationals inside the NL East. If Atlanta can pull off a win on Friday, Fredi Gonzalez's squad will face Washington in the NLDS. However, the Braves need to get past a Cardinals' team that clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday night after the Dodgers lost to the Giants. St. Louis owns the worst record of any postseason club at 88-74, but the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 with just 83 victories, while claiming the title last season with 90 wins, which were the fewest among playoff teams.
The Redbirds are without Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols for this championship chase, as St. Louis will depend on right-hander Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) for a trip to the NLDS against Washington. Lohse was perfect in April, but the Cardinals won just two of his final five starts of the season. The Braves battered Lohse in his only start against Atlanta in late May, scoring five runs in five innings, while picking up eight hits in a 10-7 victory by the Braves. In three playoff starts last season, Lohse allowed 11 earned runs in 12.2 innings, as the only win came in Game 3 of the World Series against Texas in which the Cards scored 16 runs to get the right-hander off the hook.
The Braves captured the season series by beating the Cardinals in five of six meetings, while all six games finished 'over' the total. Atlanta scored five runs or more in each victory, as the lone Cardinals' win came in the opener of a late May series at Turner Field, an 8-2 triumph as +120 underdogs.
Orioles at Rangers - 8:37 PM EST
There was no chance Texas would be a Wild Card team when it led Oakland by 13 games in the AL West in late June. But a monumental meltdown by the two-time defending AL Champions has now put them in a do-or-die situation against the upstart Orioles, who are in the postseason for the first time since 1997.
The Rangers were one win away (twice) from taking the World Series crown last October, but lost the final two games to the Cardinals. The complacency set in for Ron Washington's club down the stretch, as Oakland beat Texas five times in the final week to grab the AL West title, while the Rangers now have to depend on rookie Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA). The right-hander is coming off eight consecutive quality starts, as the Rangers won six of those outings. Darvish finished the regular season at 10-2 in 14 home starts, while losing twice in the favorite role. The former Pacific League standout didn't face the Orioles this season, as the Rangers took five of seven meetings from Baltimore.
The Orioles will turn to recently acquired Joe Saunders (9-13, 4.07 ERA), who came over from Arizona in late August. The southpaw compiled a 3-3 record in seven starts with the O's, while allowing three earned runs in each of his last three trips to the mound. The Orioles and Diamondbacks combined to go 5-9 in his 14 starts this season as a road underdog, as Saunders looks for his first victory in Arlington in seven tries dating back to his days with the Angels.
The 'over' cashed five times between the Rangers and O's, but the 'under' went 2-1 in Arlington. One of the bigger stories this season came when these teams hooked up in early May at Camden Yards as Josh Hamilton knocked out four homers and drove in eight runs in a 10-3 Texas victory. Since sweeping the Rangers in Arlington back in July 2010, the Orioles are just 1-5 the last six visits to Texas
Rangers look to end slide in Wild Card vs. O's
BALTIMORE ORIOLES (93-69)
at TEXAS RANGERS (93-69)
American League Wild Card Game
First pitch: Friday, 8:35 p.m. EDT
Line: Texas -185, Baltimore +175, Total: 9
After blowing a 13-game division lead this season, the Rangers will try to regroup at home in the first ever one-and-done Wild Card game against the Orioles on Friday.
Texas ended the 2012 regular season with seven losses in its final nine contests, dropping their final three games in Oakland to squander the large division lead it had on June 30. Baltimore scored 31 runs during a four-game win streak to end September, but scored just five runs in the three-game October set at Tampa Bay, losing two of three. Friday’s loser-goes-home playoff contest features two red-hot pitchers in lefty Joe Saunders and Texas right-hander Yu Darvish. Saunders had a tremendous September with his new team, going 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Darvish has been even better lately, going 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 0.87 WHIP during eight straight quality starts. While the Rangers clearly have more talent, they have not responded to the immense championship-or-bust pressure after coming within a strike of winning the 2011 World Series. On the other hand, the Orioles, who haven’t played in a postseason game in 15 years, have thrived in pressure situations. They are 29-9 in one-run games this year, and have won 16 straight extra-inning affairs. Baltimore also has the AL’s best road record (46-35, .568), and clearly has the superior bullpen between the two clubs. The O’s are also 61-46 (.570) as an underdog this year. All things considered, the pick here is for heavy ‘dog BALTIMORE to advance to the ALDS where the Yankees await.
This four-star FoxSheets managerial trend also sides with the Orioles:
BUCK SHOWALTER is 58-34 (63.0%, +40.8 Units) against the money line with a hot bullpen whose WHIP is under 1.000 the last 5 games as the manager of BALTIMORE. The average score was BALTIMORE 4.8, OPPONENT 4.2 - (Rating = 4*).
Although Saunders (9-13, 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP in 2012) has been terrible against Texas in his career (3-7, 6.48 ERA, 1.49 WHIP), he’s only faced them once in the past three seasons. And in that start, also in Arlington, Saunders allowed just one run in seven innings while striking out six in a 1-0 defeat. However, that dropped his lifetime record to 0-6 all-time with a 9.38 ERA and 1.80 WHIP at Rangers Ballpark. Saunders has the benefit of extensive postseason experience, but he is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.94 WHIP in his four career playoff starts. In last year’s postseason with Arizona, he allowed Milwaukee to score three runs in just three innings off him with five hits and two walks. The Orioles could choose to play this game like a spring-training affair with multiple pitchers throwing an inning or two here and there. The Orioles bullpen has been outstanding this season, going 32-11 (.744) with a 3.00 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 55 saves in 71 chances (78%). These numbers are even more impressive on the road: 16-4, 2.56 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 82% save percentage (31-of-38).
Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) has never pitched in a bigger spot in his major-league career, and he has never faced the Orioles in his lone big-league season. He was known for his clutch pitching in Japan though, going 8-2 with a 1.38 ERA in 11 playoff starts for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Texas is not an easy place to pitch, but Darvish has been more successful at home this year than on the road. In 14 starts in Arlington, he is 10-2 (team is 11-3) with a 3.88 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 92.2 innings. His one weakness is control, as Darvish has walked 89 batters this year, the fourth-highest total in the American League. This has kept his innings below 200 for the season, as he sits at 191.1, or 6.6 innings per start. If he can’t last seven innings, Texas could be in real trouble. Since Sept. 1, its bullpen carries a 4.21 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. However, the Rangers are clearly the better offensive team, scoring 5.0 runs per game, as opposed to 4.4 for Baltimore. Also, Texas has already scored 10+ runs three times against the O’s this season and Josh Hamilton smacked an MLB-record-tying four homers against them on May 8.
Medlen looks to keep rolling in Wild Card vs. St. Louis
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (88-74)
at ATLANTA BRAVES (94-68)
National League Wild Card Game
First pitch: Friday, 5:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Atlanta -165, St. Louis +155, Total: 6½
As major league baseball debuts its one-game Wild Card playoff on Friday, the Cardinals will travel to Atlanta in a win-or-die showdown.
The Cardinals finished the season riding the back of their pitching with 12 wins in their final 16 games. In that span, St. Louis gave up just 2.4 runs per game. Despite closing out the season with a series loss to the Pirates, Atlanta also finished the season with stellar pitching, winning eight of their last 11, allowing three or fewer runs in all but one of those games. Kris Medlen will look to continue to make history for Atlanta on Friday, leading the Braves to victory in each of his past 23 starts, an MLB record. In 2012, he has a 9-0 record with a 0.97 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 12 starts. On Friday, he faces Kyle Lohse, who is also amid a strong season albeit not a historic one, with a 2.86 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He also has an impressive win tally with a 16-3 record. Atlanta has taken five of six meetings with the Cardinals this season, but St. Louis has won 12 of 20 over the past three years and are 5-5 at Turner Field. Ultimately, this is shaping up to be an extremely competitive game, one in which no team should be heavily favored. Knowing that, take the significant help from the lines and ST. LOUIS to advance in this one and keep its hopes alive at a repeat World Series trophy.
This four-star FoxSheets trend also favors the Cardinals:
Play On - All underdogs with a money line of +150 or more (ST. LOUIS) - after allowing one run or less in a win over a division rival, starting a pitcher who walked <=1 hitters each of his last 2 outings. (40-27 since 1997.) (59.7%, +40.5 units. Rating = 4*).
On the road this season, Lohse is 8-2 with a 3.41 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, averaging 6.1 innings per start. In his career, he owns a 3-1 record (team 4-6) versus Atlanta with a 4.97 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. One of those starts came this year, an outing in which he yielded five earned runs in as many innings. The Cardinals have also struggled as a road team in the 2012 campaign with a 38-43 mark (.469), but are 5-2 in their past seven away games. Also, St. Louis deserves respect when it comes to postseason play—it has won the World Series two of the past three times they have made it to October baseball. Take them as underdogs here.
This will be Medlen’s first career start versus St. Louis. In Medlen’s dominance on the mound he has found himself deep into games, averaging 7.0 innings per start. That leaves little room for the Atlanta bullpen, as strong as it has been this season with a 2.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. They have 47 saves in 58 opportunities (81% conversion rate) and a 25-14 record. The Braves are a strong home team (48-33) and also great in the daylight (30-18). And whereas the Cardinals tend to make deep postseason runs, the Braves are the opposite. Atlanta has lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of its past five appearances. Play against.
I like the under in both games as well today. GL!
Baltimore at Texas
The Orioles look to build on their 19-7 record in their last 26 games following an off day. Baltimore is the pick (+170) according to Dunkel, which has the Orioles favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+170). Here are all of today's picks.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5
Game 901-902: St. Louis at Atlanta (5:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Lohse) 15.754; Atlanta (Medlen) 15.828
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-170); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-170); Under
Game 903-904: Baltimore at Texas (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Saunders) 15.698; Texas (Darvish) 14.866
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Texas (-200); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+170); Over
Friday, October 5
ST LOUIS (88 - 74) at ATLANTA (94 - 68) - 5:05 PM
KYLE LOHSE (R) vs. KRIS MEDLEN (R)
Top Trends for this game.
ST LOUIS is 88-74 (-5.3 Units) against the money line in all games this season.
ST LOUIS is 7-15 (-10.9 Units) against the money line when the total is 7 or less this season.
ST LOUIS is 38-43 (-10.7 Units) against the money line in road games this season.
ST LOUIS is 9-17 (-13.6 Units) against the money line when playing on Friday this season.
ST LOUIS is 88-74 (-5.3 Units) against the money line in games played on a grass field this season.
ST LOUIS is 57-57 (-14.7 Units) against the money line against right-handed starters this season.
ST LOUIS is 25-35 (-18.3 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
ATLANTA is 94-68 (+17.0 Units) against the money line in all games this season.
ATLANTA is 18-6 (+12.4 Units) against the money line when playing on Friday this season.
ATLANTA is 30-18 (+13.7 Units) against the money line in day games this season.
ATLANTA is 92-67 (+15.5 Units) against the money line in games played on a grass field this season.
ATLANTA is 64-37 (+22.5 Units) against the money line against right-handed starters this season.
ATLANTA is 59-35 (+17.6 Units) against the money line after a win this season.
ATLANTA is 46-37 (+9.3 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
MEDLEN is 12-0 (+12.0 Units) against the money line in all games this season. (Team's Record)
MEDLEN is 14-0 (+14.1 Units) against the money line in home games over the last 3 seasons. (Team's Record)
MEDLEN is 12-0 (+12.0 Units) against the money line in games played on a grass field this season. (Team's Record)
MEDLEN is 13-1 (+12.3 Units) against the money line after a win over the last 3 seasons. (Team's Record)
MEDLEN is 10-0 (+11.1 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons. (Team's Record)
ST LOUIS is 71-47 (+24.2 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 3 seasons.
ATLANTA is 38-51 (-32.4 Units) against the money line in October games since 1997.
ATLANTA is 14-21 (-16.5 Units) against the money line in home games in playoff games since 1997.
Head-to-Head Series History
ATLANTA is 5-1 (+4.7 Units) against ST LOUIS this season
6 of 6 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+6.0 Units)
KYLE LOHSE vs. ATLANTA since 1997
LOHSE is 3-1 when starting against ATLANTA with an ERA of 4.97 and a WHIP of 1.583.
His team's record is 4-6 (-1.4 units) in these starts. The OVER is 6-4. (+1.9 units)
KRIS MEDLEN vs. ST LOUIS since 1997
No recent starts.
BALTIMORE (93 - 69) at TEXAS (93 - 69) - 8:35 PM
JOE SAUNDERS (L) vs. YU DARVISH (R)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.
Head-to-Head Series History
TEXAS is 5-2 (+1.9 Units) against BALTIMORE this season
5 of 7 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+2.8 Units)
JOE SAUNDERS vs. TEXAS since 1997
SAUNDERS is 3-7 when starting against TEXAS with an ERA of 6.48 and a WHIP of 1.491.
His team's record is 4-7 (-3.6 units) in these starts. The UNDER is 3-8. (-6.5 units)
YU DARVISH vs. BALTIMORE since 1997
No recent starts.
Friday, October 5
Today's games are one-game, winner-move-on scenarios........
Braves won five of six games vs St Louis this year, but all six games came in May; all six games went over the total. Cardinals lost two of three here in last week in May. Overall, St Louis won 12 of its last 16 games, five of last seven on road. Braves won 10 of last 11 home games, eight of last 11 overall. Lohse is 2-0, 3.32 in his last three starts; he lost 10-7 here May 30, giving up five runs in five IP. Atlanta won Medlen's last 23 starts; he is 9-0, 1.18 in his 12 starts this season. He didn't start against St Louis in 2012.
Texas won five of seven vs Baltimore this year, winning two of three here in late August. Five of the seven games went over total, with two of three going under in this park. Rangers lost seven of last nine games to lose division title, they lost six of last ten home games. Orioles went 12-5 in last 17 games, 5-2 in last seven. Saunders is 1-2, 3.58 in his last four starts; he didn't pitch against the Rangers this year. Darvish cost the Rangers $100M to sign; he is 4-0, 2.06 in his last six starts. He didn't pitch against Baltimore.
Wednesday, October 3
ST. LOUIS vs. ATLANTA
The total has gone OVER in 5 of St. Louis's last 5 games when playing Atlanta
St. Louis is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Atlanta
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Atlanta's last 5 games when playing St. Louis
Atlanta is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing St. Louis
BALTIMORE vs. TEXAS
Baltimore is 2-10 SU in its last 12 games when playing Texas
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Baltimore's last 8 games when playing Texas
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Texas's last 8 games
Texas is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Baltimore
Friday, October 5
NL Wild Card (Best-of-One)
(TC) St. Louis at Atlanta, 5:05 ET TBS
Lohse: St. Louis 9-18 SU away with a total of 7.5 runs or less
Medlen: 14-0 TSR in home games
AL Wild Card (Best-of-One)
(TC) Baltimore at Texas, 8:35 ET TBS
Saunders: Baltimore 14-44 SU off BB games having 5 or less hits
Darvish: Texas 16-2 SU at home off BB losses
(TC) = Time Change
Amazing Athletics Look To Tame Tigers In ALDS
The reward for the Oakland Athletics’ extended and very stirring run to the American League West crown might not be as pleasant as Oakland fans envisioned.
Then again, we’ve learned to never underestimate this battling bunch of A’s.
Awaiting Oakland in the playoffs are the Detroit Tigers, who enter the postseason very hot themselves after putting away the White Sox in the last two weeks to draw clear in the AL Central. The A’s also get the chance to face the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, Miguel Cabrera, and the pleasure of dealing with Detroit ace Justin Verlander in Game 1 and perhaps once again later in this series.
Action commences on Saturday at Comerica Park in Detroit as the Tigers host Game 1 of the ALDS. The Tigers will also host Game 2 before the remainder of the best-of-five series moves west to the Bay Area and the O.co Coliseum.
The aforementioned Verlander goes for Jim Leyland’s Detroit bunch in the Saturday opener, with Oakland manager Bob Melvin still deciding upon his starter as we go the press late in the week. Verlander will be a sizable favorite whichever pitcher Melvin decides to use, and a check with the Don Best MLB odds screen notes Detroit priced at -185/-190 on the win with Verlander, with the ‘under’ at 7½ and shaded to the ‘under’ at most Nevada wagering outlets.
First pitch on Saturday is slated for 6:05 p.m. (ET) with TBS providing the TV coverage.
Verlander presents quite a hurdle for the A’s, especially considering his recent form chart which includes not only four straight wins but an ERA of 0.64 in the process, allowing just two runs in his last 28 IP. Included in that recent stretch of success was a solid six innings of work vs. Oakland on September 19 at Comerica Park, allowing just five hits and no runs in the process as the Tigers went on to a 6-2 win.
Verlander also handcuffed the A’s on May 13 at Oakland, allowing just one run and two hits over seven innings of work in a 3-1 Tigers win. Over his career, Verlander is 7-5 with a 2.38 ERA in 13 starts against the A’s.
Leyland will pitch Doug Fister in Game 2 on Sunday. Max Scherzer, who got a four-inning tuneup Wednesday to see if his right deltoid and right ankle were OK, will probably start Tuesday's game in Oakland. Anibal Sanchez will likely go if a Game 4 is necessary, with Verlander, if needed, either going in Game 5 or starting the opener of the ALCS if Detroit advances beyond this round.
Rick Porcello has not been included in Leyland’s four-man rotation, and whether he gets included on the divisional round roster could depend on whether manager Jim Leyland wants to carry two left-handed relievers or three. Leyland is scaling back from 12 pitchers to 11, opting for an extra position player because days off mean he can get by with four starters.
Leyland was looking ahead with his rotation more that a week ago, setting it up so Verlander could start either a 163rd game against the White Sox to determine the Central champ or the first game of the divisional playoff round. It also lets him pitch a fifth game, if one is necessary.
The combination of Cabrera’s Triple Crown numbers, and slugging 1B Prince Fielder batting behind him, creates a menacing look for the Tigers in the 3-4 spots in the batting order.
But the concerns for Detroit continue to involve defense, especially some shaky work around the infield, which proved costly on occasion, including the last time these teams faced on September 20 at Comerica. The Tigers were denied a three-game sweep due in part to shoddy defense, including 2B Omar Infante’s throwing error that gifted the A’s a run in the third inning, and a misplayed fly ball by CF Austin Jackson in the sixth inning that resulted in a two-run triple for George Kottaras. Oakland salvaged the final game of that series with a 12-4 win after being outscored 18-4 in the first two games of the set.
The A’s, however, are red-hot, having swept Seattle and Texas at home to conclude the regular season to dramatically collarthe Rangers at the wire to steal the AL West title and avoid the wild card play-in game. Oakland is an astounding 72-38 since June 1, when the A’s began their unlikely turnaround after entering that month with a 22-30 record...the same as the Houston Astros.
Manager Melvin, however, might be a bit reluctant to go with with starter Tommy Milone, who would figure to be up in the rotation but was ineffective in his last start on Sunday vs. the Mariners, allowing nine hits in 4 2/3 IP, after also allowing the same number of hits in the same number of innings in that recent September 20 game at Comerica Park vs. the Tigers.
Melvin’s other likely option appears to be Jarrod Parker, who last pitched on Monday in the 4-3 win over Texas that at the time clinched a wild card berth for the A’s. Parker lost his only start vs. the Tigers back on May 13 (vs. Verlander) but was not terribly ineffective, allowing two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 IP of an eventual 3-1 loss.
But May was a long time ago for the A’s, who became a different team once the calendar turned to June. They enter the postseason with an underrated bullpen having spun 22 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Meanwhile, Oakland’s jerry-rigged lineup featuring career spare parts such as Brandon Moss, Seth Smith, Josh Reddick plus electric Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, cracked 114 homers after the All-Star break, the best such mark in the majors as the A’s became known for their big-inning outbursts.
Indeed, the current Oakland edition might be the greatest masterpiece of GM Billy Beane’s well-documented career.
These sides have met in the postseason before, most recently in 2006, when Detroit swept the A’s in four straight to advance to the World Series. That was also Oakland’s last playoff appearance until this season.
There was also a memorable ALCS back in 1972, when Oakland’s Campy Campaneris was suspended after throwing his bat at Tiger pitcher Lerrin LaGrow in Game 2 at the Coliseum. The series went the full five games before the A’s pulled it out despite also losing Reggie Jackson at the end of the series due to a torn hamstring on a bang-bang play at the plate against Tiger C Bill Freehan as Reggie dramatically stole home base in a daring double steal ordered by manager Dick Williams. Oakland went on to its first of three straight World Series wins by beating the Reds in the World Series.
The teams met seven times this season, with the Tigers winning four of those, including two of three in the mid-September series at Comerica Park. The sides split a four-game set at Oakland between May 10-13.
Reds Begin Playoffs At San Francisco Giants
Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants MLB Betting Preview
Date: 10/06/2012, 9:37 p.m. (ET) TBS
Opening Lines: Giants -111, O/U 6½
Cincinnati Reds: Dusty Baker and the Reds (97-65, +17.4 units) hope for better results than their last trip to the postseason in 2010 when Philadelphia swept three straight. That all started with Roy Halladay throwing a no-hitter in Game 1, and Cincinnati will now face San Francisco's Matt Cain who authored a perfect game earlier this season. The Redlegs have a fine arm of their own for Saturday's matchup in Johnny Cueto. Cincinnati went 22-11 behind Cueto in 2012 (+7.1 units), one of the defeats coming in late-June at San Francisco where he pitched six and surrendered three runs for the loss. The Reds are 21-26 all-time at AT&T Park, but have won five of their last nine on this diamond.
San Francisco Giants: Bruce Bochy and the Giants (94-68, +19.3 units) have much fonder memories of the 2010 playoffs with World Series rings to show for their effort. San Francisco streaks into this postseason having won 39 of its last 60, including a 19-8 month of September when the Giants cemented their claim to the NL West title. They went 21-11 (+6.0 units) behind Saturday's starter Cain, 8-2 over his last 10 assignments. Two of those losses did come against the Reds, one in each park and Cain's ledger totaling 13 innings with eight runs charged to him. Two batters in Cincy's lineup who have hurt him over the years are Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick, a combined 14-for-35 (.400) with Ludwick taking him deep three times. The 'under' was 3-0-1 in the Giants' four games vs. Cincinnati played in San Francisco this year.