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Detroit Up 2-0 on Oakland A’s, Reds Up 2-0 on Giants

Both NL and AL West teams are having a tough go of it so far in the playoffs. Both were underdogs heading into their respective series, and both are now down two games to none after the weekend’s playoff action.

AL Playoffs

Game 1: Detroit Defeats Oakland 3-1

Justin Verlander struggled early in Game 1 of Detroit’s playoff series against Oakland, allowing a first inning homer to Coco Crisp. However, after that early slip, he found his ryhtm and dominated the rest of the game, with the A’s easily cruising to a 3-1 victory. “Early on was kind of a bit of a battle for me,” Verlander said. “Just kind of found my rhythm a little bit and was able to hit my spots better, and I started throwing my breaking ball for strikes a little bit better, too…Early on, didn’t have great control of any of my pitches, but I was able to get myself out of jams that I created.”

Tigers catcher Alex Avila hit a solo shot in the fifth inning, and that was the final score of the day as Verlander took care of the rest. “It’s always important to get Game 1. The way it is now, obviously, it’s nice starting here but to play the last three games in Oakland is definitely tough,” Avila said. “Every game’s important, but it felt real good to get one out of the way.”

Despite his early labors, Verlander wants to keep the pedal to the metal when he pitches. “In the postseason you don’t go out there and think about pitch count and keeping it low,” Verlander said. “I’m just going to be aggressive, try to find the strike zone and throw quality strikes, and the pitch count will take care of itself.” Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera went hitless in the game, though scored a run when he hit into a double play in the first inning.

Game 2: Detroit Defeats Oakland 5-4

You’ll take wins wherever you can find them in the MLB postseason, but this one was a little unconventional for the Detroit Tigers: they scored five runs on Sunday without an RBI hit, the most runs ever scored in a postseason game without one. It was an ugly, scrappy game for a team assembled around two star power hitters, but the Tigers have to be happy that they’ve shown they can win without Cabrera and Fielder powering them. Detroit was favored to win this series because of their power, but this was a very Oakland A’s way to win the game.

NL Playoffs

Game 1: Cincinnati Defeats San Francisco 5-2

Despite losing Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto  in the first inning to back spasms, the Reds were still able to take care of business against Giants ace Matt Cain, who allowed his first career postseason earned runs after not giving up a single one during the Giants run to the World Series in 2010. Cueto is not seriously injured, and the team hopes to have him back later in this series.

Game 2: Cincinnati Defeats San Francisco 9-0

Bronson Arroyo picked a great time to win his first game ever in San Francisco. “We couldn’t put ourselves in a better situation,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you’re going to close it out, but for us personally, I know the fans are going to be as jacked as they have ever been in that ballpark since it has been built, which is going to be nice.”

The 35-year-old right hander made it seven innings into the game to power the Reds to a victory, and they seem to be in total control of this series. They were heavily favored to win, and it’s easy to see why. At this point, the Reds have to be the favorite to be the NL representative in the World Series.

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