Because of their 7-5 loss to the Mariners on Saturday, the A's are locked into the No. 2 seed, ensuring a rematch with the No. 3-seed Tigers, who have bumped Oakland from each of the club's past two postseason appearances. No. 1 seed Boston will play the winner of the AL Wild Card Game.
In 2006, the A's were swept by the Tigers in the AL Championship Series. Last year, Detroit beat the A's in five games in the AL Division Series. Third time's a charm?
"We know that we have our work cut out for us, and I think they know that as well," said Brandon Moss. "Last year we were a little bit of an unknown for them, and for a lot of us, they were an unknown because most of us hadn't been here all year last year.
"This year, they came to our place and played really well, then we went to their place and played really well. We have some familiarity with their pitchers, and we know how deep and talented they are, but we believe in ourselves a lot more this year. We've beaten a lot of really good pitchers this year. Obviously it's one of the tougher matchups you can draw, but at the same time, if you can win that series, you're better prepared for the next series."
Detroit took two of three in Oakland back in April, but the A's managed to claim three of four games in Detroit in late August, outscoring the Tigers, 34-20, against Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister.
"It would be one thing if you go in and get boat-raced, but we went in there and played maybe our best baseball of the year," said manager Bob Melvin. "Offensively, we hit every one of their starters and they're all good, so I think as confidence goes, it should give us a little something going into the series.
"It makes for good fun. It was a good matchup last year, and we've had some spirited games with them this year. So it should be an exciting series, two pretty well-matched teams."
The first two games of the series will be played on Friday and Saturday in Oakland, with the series resuming in Detroit on Oct. 7. Game 4, if necessary, will be played the following day, and should it come down to Game 5, the two teams will travel back to Oakland for an Oct. 10 contest.