DETROIT One team has the reigning MVP and another player who just won the Triple Crown.
The A's will try to counter all that by sending who else? a rookie to the mound.
"We've been the 'David' all year," A's right-hander Jarrod Parker said. "I think obviously it's a role and an image that we've kind of taken on and been able to embrace, and it's fun."
Parker will start against Detroit ace Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the division series today.
The American League Central-champion Tigers are making their second straight playoff appearance, but Oakland emerged as one of the game's biggest surprises by winning the A.L. West. Now the A's must contend with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit third baseman who might succeed Verlander as the A.L. MVP.
"We know we've got a great ballclub. We know what we have in the clubhouse," Cabrera said. "We know we're going to face a very hot team like Oakland. They play unbelievable baseball right now."
Cabrera hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBIs to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1967. But he wasn't the only big story in the closing days of the regular season. The A's rallied to win the A.L. West, edging Texas by one game when they beat the Rangers on the final day.
Not bad for a team that had the lowest Opening Day payroll in the majors.
Oakland got 56 homers and 54 wins from a cast of rookies that included Parker (13-8) and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Rookie left-hander Tommy Milone, who matched Parker with 13 wins, is scheduled to start Game 2.
"Obviously, with Verlander going Game 1, you've got to be on your game," Parker said. "We have a lot of left-handed bats that are hot right now, and I think that's one thing we've got going for us."
Outfielder Josh Reddick, one of Oakland's left-handed hitters, hit 32 home runs this year.
The series will start with two games in Detroit, where the weather can be a factor at this time of year. In 2006, the Tigers swept the A's in the A.L. Championship Series, and there were snow flurries at Comerica on a workout day between games. It rained a bit Friday, but the forecast for today looked clear.
That was good news for Verlander (17-8), a powerful right-hander who had two playoff starts cut short by rain last year.
"I saw a little bit of rain today, but I saw actually on my Twitter of all places that (there's) no rain in the forecast for tomorrow," Verlander said.
Verlander led the majors in strikeouts this year, and Max Scherzer Detroit's Game 4 starter finished second.
That could be an asset for the Tigers, especially since Oakland struck out more than any other team. Detroit hasn't been very good defensively in 2012, but if the A's don't make consistent contact, it might not matter.
The Tigers are expected to start Doug Fister in Game 2, followed by Anibal Sanchez.
The A's begin the postseason days after the death of reliever Pat Neshek's newborn son. Neshek is back with the team for this series.
"As soon as I got out there and started playing catch, it takes your mind off all the bad stuff," Neshek told reporters. "It's a good way of healing. I don't think we'll ever get over it, but this is a good way to put the pieces back together."