8:07 PM ET, October 10, 2013
O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
Detroit: Verlander (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Oakland: Gray (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Decisive Game 5s sure are becoming familiar for Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander. However, it’s not the same story for Oakland Athletics rookie Sonny Gray.
Just like last October in Oakland, the Detroit team has been pushed to a winner-take-all fifth game in their AL division series versus the A’s.
In addition, the Tigers will start with Verlander again tonight after he pitched a four-hit shutout in the 2012 clincher at the Oakland Coliseum.
Starting for the A’s will be Gray versus Verlander a second time after these two put on a pitching show Saturday night at the Coliseum.
Verlander dominated what YouWager experts consider an exciting pitcher’s duel with Gray, who matched the ace as each threw zeros but had nothing to show for it in a 1-0 A’s victory.
Verlander is riding a 22-inning postseason scoreless streak versus oakland’s, and the right-hander has 33 strikeouts over the past three playoff matchups versus the Athletics, 11 in each outing.
Not that the this team is counting.
Verlander knows it would have been great to pitch the playoff opener, while also noting 21-game winner Max Scherzer more than earned the nod. Now, the 30 year-old gets the ball for his most meaningful start this year — to extend the MLB season tonight.
Both MLB teams decided to use Wednesday as a full day off without on-field workouts after two long flights in four days.
Who to start was quite a choice for 2012 AL Manager of the Year Melvin, whose team is trying to avoid having the season end at the hands of Detroit for the third time in as many postseasons — last year and also a four-game sweep by the Tigers in the 2006 AL championship series.
A’s rookie Stephen Vogt delivered a walk-off single in Saturday’s victory once Verlander was out of the game. However he also had a wild 10-pitch at-bat with Verlander in which the left-handed hitting catcher fouled off the first five pitches and seven in all before striking out to end the seventh.