Why the Tigers can win: When healthy, Detroit’s Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister are the dominating top three starters in baseball. Their lineup is potent with the powerful bats of Prince Fielder (30 HR, 108 RBI) and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera (44 HR, 139 RBI). But Scherzer’s health and the Tigers’ defense could be issues.

Why the Athletics can win: There’s no mistaking how much a magical finish, like Oakland enjoyed to capture the AL West, can boost spirits. The Athletics have young, talented starters, like strike-throwing machine Tommy Milone (3.74 ERA), and the back end of their bullpen (Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and closer Grant Balfour) has been strong.

Prediction: Athletics in five.

— James Wagner

game location date, time tv
1 at Detroit Saturday, 6 TBS
2 at Detroit Sunday, noon MLBN
3 at Oakland Tuesday, 9 TBS
4* at Oakland Wednesday, TBD TBS
5* at Oakland Thursday, TBD TBS