The Oakland A’s endured a tough loss on the road Tuesday night, in Detroit, losing 8-6 to the Tigers. Despite an early 3-0 lead, thanks to Coco Crisp getting on base and Jed Lowrie’s single in the first and Lowrie’s 2-run bomb in the 5th, the A’s could not tame the Tigers offensive fury in the end. The Tigers struck back instantly in the bottom of the 5th, Johnny Peralta homered scoring Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez. The A’s would regain the lead once more on a Coco Crisp RBI single in the top of the 7th, hoping it would be enough to hold off the Tigers, but questionable pitching changes altered the A’s fate in this game.
The decision to bring Sean Doolittle in the game in the 7th, with a power hitting Tigers line-up, and Doolittle known to have nothing more then straight fastballs came back to bite the A’s. Victor Martinez quickly tied the game once again, on a questionable home run to right field, just over the outstretched glove of Josh Reddick, right into the outstretched hands of a fan clearly leaning over to catch the ball. Upon review the call stood as a home run, and propelled the Tigers momentum in this game, as they would score one more in the 7th, and 3 more in the 8th inning. One run in the 8th came off a wild pitch from Brett Anderson of all people. Another questionable move as Bob Melvin went to the veteran lefty late in Tuesdays game, instead of saving him for game 5, if needed.
Well now that we know game 5 is happening, that may have not been the best move at the time, but the A’s staff must roll with the punches, and deliver the knockout in Oakland on Thursday. Something that seems foreign to A’s fans in recent history, as game fives have not been favorable for the Green and Gold. This game 5 however could favor Oakland due to the fact that they will have both Bartolo Colon and Sonny Gray available to pitch if needed. Colon the 18 game winner and Veteran of the two could get the call as it is his turn up, but many A’s fans and even the press could not ignore the stellar performance by the youngster Sonny Gray in game 2, against Verlander. Whether or not that persuades Bob Melvin to go with the youngster or not, Colon or Gray could serve as the perfect long relief to the other if need be on Thursday. This adds dangerous depth to the staff and alleviates Colon or Gray from the stress of going the distance. Of course the longer the starter can go the better, but for a must win game 5, the A’s cannot afford to leave the starter in too long. Their are plenty if fresh arms in the pen not named Doolittle, and I’m sure all necessary weapons will be utilized properly against an always dangerous veteran Tigers line-up.
The A’s on the other hand must give Colon or Gray run support, and they must strike early against the Justin Verlander. Rattling the veteran on the road could spark the A’s momentum, allowing the A’s to get to Detroit’s bullpen, which is the best possibility to seal this victory. If you ask me I go with the veteran Colon to go head to head with Verlander this time, he will be well rested and will make the adjustments to get the Tigers hitters out with ease this time around. If things go well for Bartolo the A’s could save Gray for game 1 of the ALCS. If things are shaky for Colon then use him and Gray to ensure the win, and Jarrod Parker can go first next round. Either way you got to love the depth of the A’s pitching staff this year, and it could just be the difference maker in Game 5 this time around.