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Week Ahead: A's, Tigers

5/13/2013

The week will reach a pinnacle Thursday night with Yu Darvish facing off against Justin Verlander.

But before that comes a three-game showdown with the Oakland A's, the team that stole the American League West division title from the Rangers last season.

Here's a look at the week ahead:

A's dominating the AL West: Oakland is 14-5 against the AL West even after losing two of three games over the weekend to Seattle. They are 5-15 against the rest of baseball. The Rangers and A's will play for the first time this season starting Monday and also have three games next week in Oakland. The A's are 6-0 against Houston and 5-1 against the Los Angeles Angels.

High-scoring A's: Oakland had led the majors in runs scored before Sunday's games and the A's are now third with 187 runs, trailing Detroit (190) and Baltimore (188). Oakland leads the league with 165 walks. They've also been shut out four times, tied with Houston and Toronto for the most in the American League.

Darvish-Verlander: It's as good of a pitching matchup as you'll find. These two could be the top contenders for the AL Cy Young. Darvish picked up his sixth victory Saturday against Houston while Verlander got knocked around Saturday by Cleveland, allowing three earned runs with five walks in five innings. Verlander is 4-3 with a sparkling 1.93 ERA.

Tigers on the road: Detroit is just 9-9 on the road starting the week but still is tied with Cleveland with the AL Central lead. That includes a four-game sweep of lowly Houston at Minute Maid Park. Detroit has lost four of its last five road games against Washington and Cleveland. The Tigers are home for three games with the Astros before starting a four-game series in Arlington.

Tigers usually finish: Detroit is 17-2 after eight innings, with one of those losses coming on Sunday against Cleveland. Jose Valverde, who was re-signed to be the Tigers' closer, gave up a run in the top of the ninth and the Tribe went on to score again in the top of the 10th off Darin Downs to win 4-3.