OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jed Lowrie wasn't in Oakland a year ago when the Athletics hosted three American League Division Series games against the Tigers, averaging about 37,000 fans, but his A's teammates have told him the stories.
He says he can't wait for the wall of sound that marks Athletics' home games in the playoffs this year, with about 12,000 seats being opened up in the third deck, getting attendance not far short of 50,000.
"This place has a special feel to it," Lowrie said of the Coliseum. "It always feels like there are more people here than there actually are."
Will that hold true when every seat, even the 12,000 that have to this point been covered by a tarp, is sold? The A's and Tigers will find out when Game1 of the playoffs starts Friday at 6:37 p.m.
Certainly the Tigers are expecting a raucous reception.
"This is one of the rowdiest baseball experiences I've ever been part of," Game1 Tigers starter Max Scherzer said.
Scherzer started in Game 4 in Oakland last year, a 4-3 A's win, although he didn't take the loss.
"The fans here go absolutely nuts from the first pitch to the last, and that's just something you have to deal with," he said. "They're adding more people this year, so it's just going to be an unbelievable baseball experience, something I'll never forget."
Detroit manager Jim Leyland said he enjoys the thought of a playoff game in the Coliseum, and he hopes his team feels the same.
"This is obviously a very low energetic stadium," Leyland said. "And the only thing you do when you come to a place like this is you try to live on the energy the opposing team's fans provide, thrive on it, live on it. Enjoy it.
"I like bars with music, but this is a little bit loud. So it does get in the eardrums. Thank God I don't hear that well. But it's a great atmosphere, there's no question about it."
What's true is that while all the jokes in the world about the Coliseum's plumbing underscore the worst of the place, A's players believe that with a full house, the Coliseum has a home-field advantage that might be matched in the American League only by Fenway Park.
"For A's fans, this is what it's all about," closer Grant Balfour said. "They don't make it any easy place for opposing teams to play. They need to do it respectfully, but it can be a very hard place to play as a visitor."
Setup reliever Ryan Cook said he's not sure how the extra 12,000 or so will affect the game, but he said the crowds last year were a huge incentive.
"I don't think it's fair for players to put expectations on fans," Cook said. "But the electricity that was here last year will be raised to a whole new level. I can't wait to play in front of these fans."
Center fielder Coco Crisp is also waiting for those 12,000 additional voices to be raised.
"Last year they really opened up," Crisp said. "I wonder now just how much louder can it be?"
He's not the only one wondering.
"It was unbelievable when we were coming here to Oakland," Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera said. "I think we are going to face a loud crowd tomorrow. I don't know how (we) are going to prepare, but I think we're going to be ready for that. Even if they lose, they're loud, too. It doesn't matter. Nine innings in the game, that's very impressive."
--Eric Sogard will start over Alberto Callaspo at second base in Game1, but A's manager Bob Melvin expects the switch-hitting Callaspo will get his moment at some point in the opener.
"The thing about Callo is that even if he doesn't start a game, you know you're going to get a matchup with him and you can put him in there in a big spot, and it doesn't necessarily have to happen at the second base position. He's been impactful for us."
Melvin won't announce his full Game1 lineup until Friday morning.
--Leyland announced that Jhonny Peralta, who returned from a 50-game PED suspension three games before the regular season ended, made the roster.
It was speculated that Peralta would start in left field if he made the club, but Leyland said the former shortstop wouldn't start in Game1 and that Andy Dirks would be in left.
Tigers utility man Matt Tuiasosopo was the casualty of Peralta being added to the postseason squad. Of players in question, Leyland added that infielder Hernan Perez and left-handed reliever Jose Alvarez also made the postseason roster.
--There was much discussion at both team news conferences about the A's four-game series in Detroit in late August when they won three out of four games and came within one out of sweeping.
"They're a quality team and they were hot and they beat us," Scherzer said. "Hopefully we can learn from that and be better this time."
Said Melvin: "Anytime you have that kind of series against that quality of a team, you try to take some confidence from it. We faced four really good starters and we did well against them. That doesn't mean it's always going to happen that way. It's not like you expect 10 runs a game against the quality of starters they have."
Staff writer Carl Steward contributed to this report.
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