George Lee Anderson, better known around the country as "Sparky," used to say the toughest things in baseball were closing out a game and finishing off a postseason series.
The Detroit Tigers are in that position after nipping the Oakland A's 5-4 Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
"We're playing one heckuva team," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You saw them. They're not going to cash it in, trust me. Their manager's tough; their players are tough.
"We've got a long, long way to go. This is a nice win for us, but we've got a lot of work to do. They'll be waiting for us at the Coliseum, and we've got to win a game somehow."
A's manager Bob Melvin has a plan, though, and it involves left-handers.
Southpaws have bothered Detroit all season, some of which involves unproductive right-handed hitters in the group of five who hit after Prince Fielder, and some of it due to the fact the Tigers have a lot of good left-handed bats.
Melvin hopes lefty Brett Anderson, who hurt his oblique pitching against Detroit in mid-September, will be ready to start Tuesday in Oakland. He says he'll make a decision on that Monday.
The A's have loaded their bullpen with lefties, and one of them, Sean Doolittle, came in for the seventh inning Sunday and was touched for two unearned runs. Those scored on an error by Coco Crisp on Miguel Cabrera's soft fly to shallow center.
So the Tigers won a pitching-dominated first game, then eked out a second-game win in a battle of misplays.
Detroit only has to win one of three games in Oakland. Anibal Sanchez will get the first shot, with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander lined up behind him if the fourth and fifth games become necessary.