The Oakland-Detroit postseason matchup is a great story. First you have the Athletics, who were projected at the beginning of the season to be bottom dwellers in the AL West, but managed to put together a great stretch of baseball that won them the division crown in Game 162. Then you have the Tigers, whose roster is laden with star power, including the player to achieve the first Triple Crown in 45 years.
Tonight the A's will stick with what has worked for them all season by sending a rookie to the mound as their starting pitcher. Jarrod Parker didn't break camp with the A's out of Spring Training, beginning the 2012 regular season in Triple-A Sacramento. He was eventually called up to the big league club and made 28 starts for them this season, going 13-8 overall and 4-1 in his last six outings. He will have a tough assignment today as he opposes Detroit's Justin Verlander. As the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Verlander has a lot to live up to. But he hasn't had a problem with that this season, going 17-8 in 33 starts, including wins in his last four starts of the regular season. Today's AL matchup should be a great battle of rookie vs. veteran.
As for the NL matchup, we have a couple of illustrious franchises kicking off their postseason with what should be a strong pitching matchup and a couple of very different, but very good offenses. Both teams will be sending their aces to the mound in Game 1.
Johnny Cueto will try to get the Reds off on a good start tonight. He is coming off a career season in which he went 19-9 in 33 starts. He pitched against San Francisco once this season, giving up two runs in six innings, but taking a loss. But he has made two career starts at tonight's venue, AT&T Park, and has kept the Giants to only two runs in 13 innings combined. The Giants will counter with Matt Cain, who had a career season of his own. He posted a career low 2.79 ERA, struck out a career-high 193 batters, and won a career-high 16 games over the course of the season, including a perfect game that he threw against the Astros in June. Two years ago, he went undefeated in the playoffs on the way to a Giants World Series Championship. However, he lost both of his starts against Cincinnati this season, surrendering eight runs in 13 total innings.