Who: Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics
Where: O.co Coliseum
When: 8:07 PM, ET – TBS
Series record: 2-2
After winning Game 1 of the series in Oakland, the Detroit Tigers and their fans were understandably feeling quite confident entering Game 2 with ace Justin Verlander on the mound. It’s a scenario that will play out again as Verlander will take the hill in the winner-take-all Game 5 against the Athletics.
Verlander is getting the start for Max Scherzer, who pitched two innings of solid relief work in the Tigers Game 4 victory and hopes to send Detroit to their second consecutive American League Championship Series.
Opposing the Tigers ace will be young right hander Sonny Gray who will get the start in favor of Bartolo Colon. Colon, the scheduled starter, was roughed up in the Athletics’ Game 1 loss as Detroit, giving up ten hits and three earned runs in just six innings of work. Manger Bob Melvin made the decision to switch pitchers Thursday afternoon, hoping Gray’s dominance over the Tigers earlier in the series will send Oakland to their first ALCS since 2006.
Given the magnitude of the tilt, neither pitcher is likely have a very long leash, so any significant trouble and we could potentially see a bullpen matchup considering there is no tomorrow for the loser.
Take the great pitching performances we saw from Verlander and Gray in Game 2 and combine that with an already seesaw series and Game 5 could be shaping up for a classic finish.