The Athletics and Orioles: Staying Alive in the 2012 ALDS

Wednesday October 10th, 2012

Sam Evans:  The 2012 MLB playoffs have been thrilling so far. From Lew Ford to Derek Jeter, every player on the field is playing like they have something to prove. Two of the most exciting teams during the regular season, Oakland and Baltimore are both trying to prove that they belong in the postseason. So far, both teams have been successful in doing that. Both teams have benefited from outstanding pitching performances, but other than that- the two teams are very different.

Oakland finally looked like the team most hoped they would be on Tuesday, shutting out the Tigers 2-0 at home. Detroit still leads the series 2-1 but Oakland has home field advantage and better back-end starting pitching. With young talents such as Yoenis Cespedes and Jarrod Parker, Oakland, for the first time in what seems like forever, has put together a roster that is exciting to watch. With their pitching, the Athletics have a legitimate shot at advancing in the playoffs.

In Game 1 of the ALDS between Oakland and Detroit, the A’s got a leadoff homer from Coco Crisp, but that was their only run all game. Sure, facing Justin Verlander isn’t an easy task but Oakland was not able to hit Joaquin Benoit or Jose Valverde as well. Jarrod Parker, the twenty-three year old rookie, actually pitched pretty well despite a lot of pressure from the raucous crowd in Detroit.

Game 2 was a complete momentum changer for the series. Thanks to a costly Coco Crisp error in the seventh inning, Detroit managed to take the lead. Then, with the score tied 4-4 in the ninth, a Don Kelly sacrifice fly scored Omar Infante from third to end the game. Once again, the A’s starter, in this case Tommy Milone, pitched well enough to win. Game 3 was dominated by Athletics’ left-hander Brett Anderson. When Anderson is on, he is one of my favorite pitchers to watch in the game. If this guy could only stay healthy for a full season, he’d prove himself as one of the best lefties in the game.

In order to advance to the ALCS, Oakland can’t lose another game to Detroit. While it definitely is possible, it is improbable that the A’s will be able to overcome the two game deficit.

Baltimore has looked pretty solid in their first two games at Camden Yards. If it weren’t for Jim Johnson not having his best stuff on Sunday night, the Orioles would likely be up 2-0. However, Johnson’s struggles on Sunday are what makes the game so beautiful. One night your dominant closer can just not have his best stuff for numerous reasons. The good news regarding Johnson is he looked just fine on Monday.

Basically, in Game 1 neither team had an advantage until Johnson gave up five runs in the ninth. In Game 2, Wei-Yin Chen continued to do what he’s been doing for my fantasy team all season, dominating the Yankees and leading Baltimore to a 3-2 win.

The stories of Oakland and Baltimore’s season aren’t all that different. Oakland was projected by most to finish last in the A.L. West, but thanks to a couple of key players they ended up winning their division. Baltimore was expected by all to finish last in the East; however, they went on a hot streak and stayed on it for the remainder of the regular season. Even with these teams similar backgrounds, they play two drastically different brands of baseball. The odds of this are close to zero, but how awesome would an Oakland/Baltimore ALCS be?

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***

**Today’s feature was prepared by Sam Evans, Baseball Writer.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

 

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About samevans87

I love writing, talking, watching, and playing baseball. I am a baseball writer for MLB Reports and Fish Stripes. "No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined." -Paul Gallic

Posted on October 10, 2012, in Playoffs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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