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ALDS Game 5 Preview: Tigers at Athletics

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Justin Verlander gets the ball for a Game 5 matchup with Jarrod Parker and the Oakland A's.

Gregory Shamus - Getty Images

Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics

Series: 2-2

Time/Place: 9:30 p.m., Oakland Coliseum

SB Nation Blog: Athletics Nation

Media: TNT, Postseason.TV

Pitching Matchup: RHP Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64 ERA) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (13-8, 3.47 ERA)

Parker was solid in Game 1 for the A's, allowing three runs (two earned) in 6 1/3 innings of work. He was never really in trouble all night and was fairly economical to boot, throwing 96 pitches. The scary part for Tigers fans? Parker was much better at home this season, going 6-5 with a 2.61 ERA at the Coliseum. Expect runs to be at a premium again today.

If you actually believed that Verlander's poor postseason numbers were a legitimate thing, you were probably pretty shocked at how well he pitched in Game 1. Meanwhile, the rest of us have been watching him do this all season long. Other than Coco Crisp's leadoff home run, Verlander was on cruise control. The A's did a good job of driving up his pitch count -- he threw 121 pitches in 7 innings -- and will look to do the same again tonight. Expect Verlander to come out in attack mode with hopes of getting deep into the game. While I trust that he still has faith in Jose Valverde after last night's debacle, I can't imagine that JV wants the fate of this game in the hands of anyone else but his own.

Side Note

Amid all the confusion of last night's game, I totally forgot to write a links post this morning. Apologies to all, though I'm not sure the selection of stories would have been too cheerful to begin with.

Outlook

Contrary to popular belief, the Tigers have also played in some pretty big games this season with their backs up against the wall. The A's might have more walkoff wins, but the Tigers have gutted out just as many victories in crucial situations. While they won't have the benefit of 30,000+ screaming fans tonight, they do have the best pitcher in baseball on the mound. I'll take those odds any day of the week.

Predicton

You don't bet against the MVP. Tigers move on to the ALCS.