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A’s can’t get big hit in Game 1 loss

Oct 6, 2012, 9:35 PM EDT

ALDS Athletics Tigers Baseball AP

The A’s set out to make Justin Verlander work in Game 1 and were partly successful, boosting his pitch count early on. Verlander improved as the outing went on, but those early pitches resulted in his departure after seven, and once the A’s got into the bullpen, they came up just a couple of feet short of tying the game on a Brandon Moss fly to right in the eighth.

Unfortunately, that proved to be team’s only threat after the first few innings in the 3-1 loss to the Tigers. The A’s didn’t have a hit with a man on base during the game. They became just the 20th team in postseason history to strike out at least 14 times in a nine-inning game.

It feels like Oakland’s first defeat in a month or two. In reality, it had been nine days since they lost to the Rangers in the finale of a four-game series. They’d won six straight since to claim the AL West title.

The A’s still have home-field advantage in the ALDS, but they don’t want to go back to Oakland down 0-2. In Sunday’s Game 2, they’ll need to take a different tactic against Doug Fister, a strike-thrower who has handled them well in the past, going 5-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 starts. They’re going to need to be more aggressive and not let Fister get ahead with his fastball. Fister will throw his curve and changeup early in the count as well — he’s no easy assignment — but the A’s can’t miss the heater when it comes.

Personnel changes aren’t likely. While Fister has faced the A’s plenty, the only two current regulars he really has any track record against are Cliff Pennington (1-for-21) and Coco Crisp (6-for-12). It would make sense to sit Pennington and give Adam Rosales a try, though the A’s usually only do that against lefties. As hot as they’ve been, they’ll probably just stay the course.

  1. butchhuskey - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    The A’s did a nice job keeping this one close- unfortunately for them Verlander was filthy and he took advantage of a wide strike zone. I could see this being a very close series, but the A’s are at a disadvantage because Verlander is set to start a possible game 5.

  2. scatterbrian - Oct 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    “5-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 starts”

    …with 10 of them coming against A’s teams with guys like Daric Barton, Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney, Mark Ellis/Jemile Weeks, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Kurt Suzuki (sometimes batting cleanup).

    • frank433 - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:46 AM

      Fister was in Seattle with an offense consisting of “first baseman”, “shortstop”, “left fielder”, and “catcher” and he still has a 5-4 record with a 2.45era.

      • scatterbrian - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:55 PM

        The point is the vast majority of Fister’s experience against the A’s came against guys who are not on this A’s team. Therefore, Fister’s career numbers vs. the A’s are meaningless.

  3. sharkcity408 - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Ha the As don’t have “Home-field advantage” Bud Selig needs to go. F-ing ridiculous.

  4. craggt - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    The crazy part about Verlander is that when he “only” goes 7 innings that’s considered getting him out of the game early. I live in Texas and was watching the game in a bar, I told someone that earlier this season Verlander had a streak of 63 straight starts of pitching at least 6 innings broken up by a rain delay after he had pitched 5 innings, they didn’t believe me. It’s such an amazing stat, especially in this age of so many relief pitchers.
    But think about that, 63 straight starts of 6 innings or more, never giving up so many runs that you pull him. Simply amazing. Anyone who doesn’t think he’s the best pitcher alive right now doesn’t have eyeballs.

  5. APBA Guy - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Yeah, too much Verlander in this one. The craziness of opening in the park of the lower seeded team will be apparent today, should the A’s go down 2-0. Not sure it matters when Verlander is pitching.

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