Though the Oakland Athletics have swung the bats well during their first two days in Detroit, they could face a major challenge trying to stay hot against the Tigers' Doug Fister.
The right-hander hopes to continue his recent success against the A's and help keep them from a third consecutive victory over the Tigers on Wednesday night.Oakland (74-57) averaged 3.8 runs while losing four of five before it pounded out 12 hits in Monday's 8-6 victory, then got homers from Brandon Moss and Seth Smith while tagging Justin Verlander for five runs in five innings of Tuesday's 6-3 rain-shortened win."That worked out really well for us, because we didn't have to use the bullpen," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We did a great job against Verlander -- we were patient and we were able to really boost his pitch count. We only got the two runs in the first, but we made him throw 40-some pitches, and that's probably why we were able to add on in the later innings."The A's opened their seven-game trip by dropping two of three at Baltimore, but have regrouped against an AL Central-leading Detroit (77-55) team coming off a three-game sweep of the New York Mets.Chasing first-place Texas in the West, the A's have a three-game lead over Cleveland for the second and final wild-card spot and are one-half game behind Tampa Bay for the first.Fister (11-6, 3.54), meanwhile, is 1-1 with a 1.67 ERA in his last four starts versus Oakland. That included last season, when he allowed two runs and struck out eight in seven innings while not factoring in the decision of a 5-4 victory in Game 2 of the ALDS.He gave up a run in 6 1/3 innings of a 5-1 win over the New York Mets on Friday to improve to 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA in his last eight starts. It's also helped that the Tigers have scored six runs in each of his last four."For me, it's constantly a 0-0 ballgame in my head, but it's definitely a team lifter and definitely a confidence booster for the team," Fister told the Tigers' official website.Oakland's Coco Crisp is 7 for 16 with two triples versus Fister, and was 10 for 21 with four homers and five RBIs in five straight overall before going 0 for 2 with a walk Tuesday.Three of Moss' six hits in his last 19 at-bats have been home runs.Detroit star Miguel Cabrera was 8 for 17 with three homers and seven RBIs in four games before he went 0 for 2 with a walk Tuesday.Torii Hunter is the only Tiger to have previously faced Oakland starter Dan Straily (6-7, 4.56), going 4 for 7 with two homers.The right-hander, 0-5 with a 5.20 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break, gave up six runs on two homers -- including a grand slam -- and walked four in 3 1/3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-7 loss at Baltimore on Friday.Straily, though, has received only six runs of support during his losing streak.
Adjusted OPS (OPS+) is a tool that can allow us to compare seasons across eras, adjusting for ballpark and the run-scoring environment of that season. With Miguel Cabrera's season continuing to require new ways to explain its greatness, consider that he's putting up what would be the best offensive season by this measurement by anyone in the AL since 1994.
Tigers Doug Fister has allowed 13 hits through 5 IP, the 3rd time in his career he has allowed 13+ hits; two of those 3 games have come against the Athletics (allowed 13 hits on Sept. 30, 2010 vs Athletics when he pitched for Mariners).
With his single in the 3rd inning, Miguel Cabrera has reached base safely in 31 straight games (last game without reaching base safely: July 19 at Royals); has reached base safely in 120 of 125 games this season.
Justin Verlander's average fastball velocity is 93.1 mph this season, down over a full mile per hour from last season. However he faces the Oakland Athletics Tuesday, who rank 23rd in baseball in batting average against fastballs (.264).