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The Oakland Athletics are atop the wild-card standings in the American League, but still have their sights set on a division title. Oakland, which kicks off a 10-game road trip with a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Tuesday, is just three games behind Texas in the AL West. The Athletics have won eight of 10 contests since being swept of a three-game series by the Los Angeles Angels from Sept. 3-5.
Detroit, which is beginning a 10-game homestand, enters having lost four straight contests and six of its last seven. The Tigers fell three games behind Chicago in the AL Central after dropping a 5-4 decision at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday. A division title may be Detroit’s best bet for a playoff berth as it trails Baltimore by 5 1/2 games for the second wild-card spot with two other teams between them. The Athletics and Tigers split a four-game series from May 10-13, with host Oakland outscoring Detroit 21-18.
Athletics Tigers Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, CS California (Oakland), FS Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH A.J. Griffin (6-0, 1.94 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Max Scherzer (16-6, 3.77)
Since leaving his start against Toronto on Aug. 4 early with tightness in his shoulder, Griffin has been tremendous, allowing two runs while striking out 18 and walking one over 20 1/3 innings in three outings. The 24-year-old rookie tossed eight scoreless frames in a victory over the Angels in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Griffin has been fantastic on the road, going 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings over five starts.
Scherzer, who leads the major leagues with 220 strikeouts, is seeking his seventh consecutive victory after defeating the White Sox in Chicago on Wednesday, when he allowed one run and four hits in six frames. The 28-year-old has surrendered two runs or less in each of his last seven starts, working at least six innings each time. Scherzer, who is 7-2 at home, improved to 2-1 in three career outings against the Athletics when he yielded two runs over 6 1/3 innings at Oakland on May 10.
1. Oakland CF Coco Crisp is expected back in the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with pink eye.
2. Tigers C Alex Avila sat out Monday’s game against Chicago and is questionable for the series opener as he has been experiencing headaches since colliding with teammate Prince Fielder while chasing a foul pop-up Sunday.
3. Griffin is the only pitcher since at least 1918 to allow three runs or less and issue fewer than three walks in each of his first 11 major-league starts.