ALDS Game 1: Oakland Swings and Misses

Yeah, yeah, Verlander Shmerlader. We get it. He’s lights out, but tonight’s Oakland lineup made themselves ripe for the picking.

In tonight’s 3-1 win against the A’s, Justin Verlander struck out 11 over seven innings, allowing only one run on a Coco Crisp solo shot in the first inning. It should be noted the A’s had long at bats, pushing Verlander to near 100 pitches by the sixth inning. Problem being: their long at bats mostly ended in strikeouts.

During the regular season the A’s struck out an MLB worst 1387 times. Tigers pitching came in at 5th with 1318 strikeouts. According to numbers, all the Tigers needed to do was take the field and the game was theirs.

After Verlander finished, Joaquin Benoit added another K in the 8th, and closer Jose Valverde tacked another two on in the 9th, bringing the A’s total strikeouts to 14.

If Keith Law is right, and numbers don’t lie, the Tigers will take this series in less than 5 games. For the record, this writer thinks Keith Law is not right, but the team most prone to striking out doesn’t fare well against a pitching staff most likely to strike you out.

In the meantime, the Tigers have taken game in the ALDS. Tomorrow’s noon start will be a different story, if Oakland has it their way. The only hurdle: Doug Fister.

Unfortunately for the Athletics, Fister likes to strike people out. Very much.

On September 27th, Fister set an American League record by striking out 9 batters in a row. What’s worse, if the series goes to four games, the A’s will have to face Max Scherzer who is slotted to pitch in that matchup. Scherzer, like Verlander, loves to strike out those who are willing to swing. He ended the season second in the Majors with 231.

Plenty of baseball yet to be played – plenty of swings and misses.

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and ESPN.com

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