The Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants were both down 2-0 in their respective Divisional Series going into yesterday’s games. Both teams managed to pull out a close win to stave off elimination for at least one more game.
After losing Games 1 and 2 to the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, the A’s returned to Oakland to resume the series with the Tigers. Oakland won their first game of the best of five series by shutting out Detroit 2-0. Brett Anderson pitched six strong innings for the A’s, only giving up two hits and not allowing a run to one of the most prolific offenses in the Major Leagues.
While every game from this point on in the series will be an elimination game for the A’s, that is not so unusual from what they’ve been through this season to reach this point. The American League West Champions have been battling back all season, having trailed the Texas Rangers for the AL West division all season, until they won it on the last day. Oakland’s talented staff of young pitchers will be what keeps them alive if they are to continue to hold off the Tigers.
The Cincinnati Reds and the Giants played in the first extra-inning game of the 2012 postseason. The Giants avoided elimination by pulling out a 2-1 win in 10 innings. The Reds got first blood by scoring one run in the first inning, but San Fran answered with a run of their own in the third. Each team’s pitching performed well throughout the game, but the Giants were able to get a run in the top of the 10th and win.
The Giants season nearly parallels the A’s so it’s hard to count them out, even when they’re one loss away from elimination. They had to chase the Los Angeles Dodgers for most of the season until they won the National League West. However, unlike Oakland, the Giants have been here before. They are still mostly the same team that beat the Rangers in the 2010 World Series, so they should be more accustomed to the pressure of playing postseason baseball.
San Francisco and Oakland have the exact same problem though. How are they going to hold off two of the top scoring offenses in all of baseball. While the Giants have a pitching staff that is already established themselves in these situations, the A’s staff has never been in the postseason before. If I were going to pick which team would be able to overcome a 2-0 series deficit, it would have to be the Giants.