10/08/12 2:53 PM ET
A's might have Tigers right where they want them
Rangers went to Oakland in final week to clinch AL West; they never won again
By Tracy Ringolsby / MLB.com
Detroit took a 2-0 lead on Oakland in the best-of-five American League Division Series, and will be in Oakland on Tuesday needing one win out of three possible games to advance to the Championship Series. Tigers beware. The Texas Rangers needed one win in a season-ending three-game series at Oakland to clinch the AL West. They didn't win any of them, getting swept by the A's and and then losing the AL Wild Card playoff to Baltimore.The Athletics' 50-31 home record tied for second-best in Majors, one behind the Yankees. Also at 50-31 were Detroit, Washington and Cincinnati, each of whom, like the A's, won its division. Detroit and St. Louis were both 38-43 on the road during the regular season, the only postseason qualifiers with losing road records. Washington was 48-33 on the road, Cincinnati was 47-34, Baltimore, Atlanta and San Francisco were 46-35, the New York Yankees and Oakland were 44-37, and Texas was 43-38. Washington rallied to beat St. Louis in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, and goes for a sweep of the two games at Busch Stadium on Monday. The Washington franchise hasn't won back-to-back games in St. Louis since Aug. 6-7, 2002. The Nationals were still the Montreal Expos then, managed by Frank Robinson and featuring 41-year-old Andres Galarraga in his second tour of duty in Montreal and the powerful and speedy Vladimir Guerrero. There was a definite international flavor in that the starting and winning pitchers for the two games were Japanese right-handers Masato Yoshii and Tomo Ohka. The Yankees offer two big-time headaches for Baltimore to cope with: Andy Pettitte and Ichiro Suzuki, according to STATS, Inc. Including postseason play, Pettitte has 28 wins against the Orioles in his career, the most he has against any team, and is 7-0 with a 2.87 ERA in his past 10 starts against Baltimore. Suzuki has a 20-game hitting streak against Baltimore, during which he has a .398 batting average. The last time the Orioles held him hitless was April 4, 2008. He saw 10 pitches in that game, popping up twice and flying out against Steve Trachsel and lining out against lefty Jamie Walker. San Francisco is in an 0-2 hole heading to Cincinnati, where the Giants have won only three of 10 games over the past three years. The Giants went 1-2 at Great American Ball Park in 2012, were swept in three games in 2011 and went 2-2 in 2010. The Reds have not been swept at home this year. The last team to sweep them in Cincinnati was Milwaukee, on Sept. 16-18, 2011. The Reds did lose two of three at home this year nine times, including twice to St. Louis, and also to Detroit and Minnesota in Interleague Play. The Giants swept three road series this year, all in August and against Colorado, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston. In 23 previous postseason appearances since 1900, the Giants have been swept only twice, by Florida in the 1997 NL Division Series and by Oakland in the 1989 World Series.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.