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'David' Athletics face Tigers and 'Goliath'

Oakland Athletics' Josh Reddick takes batting practice in

Oakland Athletics' Josh Reddick takes batting practice in preparation for Game 1 of the American League division baseball series between the Athletics and the Detroit Tigers. (Oct. 5, 2012) Credit: AP

DETROIT -- One team has the reigning MVP and another player who just won the Triple Crown.

The Oakland Athletics will try to counter all that by sending -- who else? -- a rookie to the mound.

"We've been the 'David' all year," A's righthander 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 (13-8) will start against Detroit ace Justin Verlander (17-8) Saturday night in Game 1 of the Division Series. The AL Central-champion Tigers are making their second straight playoff appearance, but Oakland emerged as one of the game's biggest surprises by winning the AL West.

Now the A's have to contend with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera -- the Detroit third baseman who might win the American League MVP after Verlander took the award last year.

"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 AL West, edging Texas by one game when they beat the Rangers on the final day, completing a three-game sweep.

Not bad for a team that had the lowest Opening Day payroll in the majors. Rookie lefthander Tommy Milone, who matched Parker with 13 wins, is slated 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 lefthanded bats that are hot right now, and I think that's one thing we've got going for us."


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