Fan vs Fan ALCS Predictions: Why the Tigers will beat the Athletics
Pitching is the name of the game
While the Oakland Athletics may have the edge in game 1 of the ALCS with ace left-hander Barry Zito taking the mound against Nate Robertson. all the Tigers need is a lead in the 7th inning to win the game. The Tigers bullpen, arguably the best in the MLB, is led by rookie phenom Joel Zumaya and his 103 mph fastball, is just too much for the Athletics to overcome. If needed, Zumaya or "Zoom" as I like to call him, will go 2 inning if needed to secure a lead for closer Todd Jones, the Tigers all-time save leader. While it may seem he isn't totally reliable, Jones recorded 37 saves in 43 chances compared to his Oakland counterpart Huston Street who also recorded 37 saves, but had 5 more blown saves than Jones. The bullpen is the key in this series.
Experience is key
The Tigers and Athletics have a good mix of young players and veterans, but playing in the Championship Series is a first for both of these teams, except Detroit has something Oakland doesn't. A manager who has, and won it all. Jim Leyland won a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 1997, and made many playoff runs with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 90's, but this is all new to Oakland Manager Ken Macha. Macha has failed to manage the A's to a series victory until this years ALDS. All of the pressure is on Ken Macha and the A's to break the recent spell of eliminations from the playoffs. Detroit wasn't even supposed to be here, the season is already a success for this club and anything beyond what they have already done is just icing on the cake of this unbelievable season.
Let's face it, the Tigers fell flat on their face in the last week of this season, and wasn't supposed to be any competition for the Yankees, but the Tigers seemed to have regained that fire that burned in them at the beginning of the season. As we saw in the ALDS, when they get on a roll, there is no stopping them. Detroit's offense must perform like they did against the Yankees in the previous series, or it will be difficult to win games if they are only able to score 2 or 3 runs. The A's have got a few big sticks in Eric Chavez and Frank Thomas, and will make you pay if you give them something to hit. I think Thomas will be a big factor in this series, as he was against Minnesota. But it the Tigers pitching can shut him down, your chances greatly increase to win the series.
My Prediction: Tigers in 5