It’s not every day that a team can pitch as masterfully as the Detroit Tigers did and yet lose in such convincing fashion. Yet that’s what happened in Game 3 of the ALDS as the Oakland A’s pitched that much better, holding the Tigers down on 4 hits for a 2-0 win, which has drawn the A’s to within a game in the series.
Anibal Sanchez, Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, and Rick Porcello combined to allow just 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks but they were upstaged by Oakland’s eager pitching staff.
Brett Anderson, making just his 7th start of the season, and his first since September 20th, dominated the Tigers over 6 strong innings before giving way to the A’s lockdown bullpen. Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook, and Grant Balfour didn’t give an inch, and the Tigers fell quietly.
That eerie feeling Tigers fans got last night was all too familiar. So often this year the Tigers have gone out on the road after a good home stand only to watch the offense do next to nothing, despite ample pitching.
And on to Game 4 we go with a scheduled first pitch of 9:37 eastern. Detroit fans will finally get to see Max Scherzer in this series, who is fully healthy by all accounts. He will oppose yet another A’s rookie, this time AJ Griffin. Detroit has a decided advantage in this matchup.
Griffin saw the Tigers just once this year in the series at Comerica Park back in September and got roughed up big time. He was tattooed for 5 runs on 8 hits (including 3 homers) and a walk in just 4.2 innings of work. I suspect he’ll be better this time around in his home ballpark.
Oddly enough, Griffin’s opponent that day was Scherzer. Max was in the midst of a dominant stretch of pitching at the time but lasted just 2 innings that day as his deltoid issue popped up, causing great concern throughout the organization. Well, he’s better now. And he owns the A’s.
Since joining the Tigers, Scherzer has started 6 times against Oakland. He is 3-1 in those starts with an ERA in the mid 3’s. The fun part is to check out the eye-popping 48 strikeouts he has against them in just 27.1 innings logged. Oakland has been striking out with proficiency in this series and tonight’s game should be no different against one of the game’s elite strikeout artists.
The Tigers’ starting pitching has been off the charts so far in this series. The offense has been feeble. Detroit has managed just 8 runs against a very formidable A’s staff. One need not look any further than Austin Jackson for proof as to why the team is struggling.
Jackson is just 2-12 in the series, which as the broadcasting crews continue to relentlessly point out, means that Miguel Cabrera has often come to the batter’s box with the bases empty. For the Tigers to bust loose offensively, Jackson must contribute. This has always been the case for the Tigers and it’s no different now.
My prediction coming into this series was that the Tigers would drop the upstart A’s in 4. Tonight is their chance to do just that. If Scherzer is sharp with his command and keeps the A’s in the ballpark, things should go well for the Tigers. If Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, and company start to leave the yard with long fly balls then look out.
Jim Leyland will go back to his regular lineup against righty pitching:
- Jackson – CF
- Berry – LF
- Cabrera – 3B
- Fielder – 1B
- Young – DH
- Dirks – RF
- Peralta – SS
- Avila – C
- Infante – 2B
Don’t expect many changes for the A’s with the exception of possibly catcher George Kottaras stepping in for Derek Norris in the 8th slot of Bob Melvin’s lineup. Tune in for the 4th Chapter in what is quickly becoming a great playoff series.