August 29th, 2013

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Athletics

Alex Avila was understandably tired after last night’s game. He probably would’ve gotten today off regardless as Jim Leyland tries to pace him for the stretch. Torii Hunter, a .241 hitter (14-for-58) against Bartolo Colon, also gets the day off. Don Kelly’s 0-for-5 off Colon, though left-handed hitters are batting slightly higher against him this year with a better OPS.

Meanwhile, a day off for Jose Iglesias gives Leyland a chance to play the matchups with Ramon Santiago, 11-for-24 off Colon.

TIGERS (career numbers off Colon)

  1. Austin Jackson, CF (3-for-11, walk, 5 K’s)
  2. Andy Dirks, LF (4-for-5, HR, K)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (6-for-13, K)
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B (3-for-5, HR)
  5. Victor Martinez, DH (5-for-20, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Don Kelly, RF (0-for-5, K)
  7. Brayan Pena, C
  8. Omar Infante, 2B (1-for-5)
  9. Ramon Santiago, SS (11-for-24, 2 K’s)

P: Max Scherzer

ATHLETICS (career numbers off Scherzer)

  1. Coco Crisp, CF (3-for-11, 3 K’s)
  2. Josh Donaldson, 3B (0-for-5, 2 K’s)
  3. Jed Lowrie, DH (1-for-3, K)
  4. Brandon Moss, RF (2-for-11, walk, 4 K’s)
  5. Alberto Callaspo, 2B (2-for-12, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
  6. Seth Smith, LF (2-for-11, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  7. Daric Barton, 1B (0-for-3, 3 K’s)
  8. Eric Sogard, SS (2-for-4)
  9. Stephen Vogt, C

P: Bartolo Colon

Game 133: Adding up the damage

This just in: More A’s baserunners.

OK, I’m kidding. But not by much. It was that rough Wednesday night. It’s been that rough for the series, really.

The numbers tell a good part of the story. The Tigers rotation entered this series with a 3.41 ERA on the season. These last three games have bumped that season ERA to 3.50. The difference in the bullpen ERA is way more drastic, up from 3.68 before Monday to 3.89 now.

The A’s, in turn, came to town batting .244 as a team. They’re batting .247 now.

When Oakland put up eight runs in Monday’s series opener, it was the highest run total off Detroit pitching since July 9. Wednesday’s 14-4 beatdown tied the highest run total allowed by the Tigers all season.

In fact, the 28 A’s runs this series mark the highest three-game total by one team against the Tigers since the Mets scored 32 in a three-game series at Comerica Park two years ago. You remember it because Don Kelly pitched an inning in that series.

And if Tuesday’s game hadn’t been washed out in the sixth inning, the A’s might have scored more. Remember, they had the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth against a hobbled Bruce Rondon in that inning.

“It’s a funny thing. I don’t know how to explain it,” manager Jim Leyland said. “Coming in here, they were really not swinging that good against right-handed pitching. We put three right-handers out there and they’ve beat up on us pretty good.

“Normally when something like this happens, it’s a combination of just what’s happening right now: We’ve made some good pitches that they’ve hit and they’ve found a hole somewhere, and we’ve made some bad pitches that they did what they’re supposed to do with them.”

That’s one way of putting it. Alex Avila had another way.

“The last couple games have been like nightmares,” he said, “with the rain yesterday and then today we just got our butts kicked.”

The Tigers got their pitching back in sync after that miserable stretch two years ago, and they’ll get it back in form here. Whatever you make of Justin Verlander’s season, Anibal Sanchez still leads the American League in ERA. Doug Fister entered Wednesday with the fourth-highest groundball/flyball ratio in the league, and he didn’t get the ball on the ground for the first 14 batters he faced.

More important, the Tigers have not been playing as well as home lately, and they have a three-game series with Cleveland coming up this weekend. If the Indians are going to make a move to get back in it, it probably has to come here. Yes, Cleveland has an easy schedule down the stretch, but they won’t have another opportunity to take games from Detroit. And the Tigers’ schedule isn’t exactly brutal, either, once they get back home from their next road trip to Boston, Kansas City and Chicago.

I’d give you a play of the game and an out of the game, but it’s hard to point to one play for anything. Wednesday was just a continuous drubbing.