Greetings from Comerica Park. … I liked this place the first time I came here, and I’m reminded why every time I return. Sharp-looking from the outside, same on the inside.
A’s — Crisp CF, Smith LF, Reddick RF, Cespedes DH, Moss 1B, Drew SS, Donaldson 3B, Kottaras C, Pennington 2B; Griffin RHP.
Tigers — Jackson CF, Berry LF, Cabrera 3B, Fielder 1B, Young DH, Dirks RF, Peralta SS, Infante 2B, Laird C; Scherzer RHP.
UPDATE: It’s been a crazy weather day so far in Detroit. Batting practice was canceled and rain started falling hard when A’s manager Bob Melvin gave his pregame media chat a little after 5 p.m. local time. Since then, the sun has poked out, the rain has stopped and the grounds crew has removed the tarp from the infield. Some of the A’s hitters were bummed that batting practice was scratched. “This place needs a roof!” one of them said.
Coco Crisp is back in center field for the A’s, but he’s not 100 percent recovered from the allergic reaction in his eye that kept him from playing Sunday. The tip-off was him sitting in the clubhouse playing cards with his shades on. But A’s manager Bob Melvin said Crisp’s condition has improved a bit. “From what I understand, it’s an inconvenince and somewhat bothersome, but we certainly wouldn’t put him in position where he was at risk,” Melvin said. “Earlier today, he was good enough to make the lineup out.” The A’s were scheduled to hit in the indoor cage, and Melvin said that would give an indication of whether Crisp could play. I wouldn’t want to step in against Max Scherzer if my eyes weren’t feeling great, so we’ll see if Crisp remains in there.
Several members of the Detroit press corps were staking out the A’s clubhouse hoping to interview former Tiger Brandon Inge, but he hadn’t shown up to the park by the time clubhouse access ended. Inge makes his offseason home in Michigan, and he had his shoulder surgery in Detroit last week. He had said he wanted to rejoin the A’s and travel with them after the season-ending procedure was done. The A’s brought a lot of his equipment here — there appeared to be several bags full of bats — and Melvin said he’s hopeful of Inge popping in sometime during this series.
ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote this morning about the crazy dynamics of having two wild card teams in each league this season. The wild card teams will be allowed to set a 25-man roster for their one-game play-in, and the team that wins can then carry a different 25-man roster for the Divisional Series. That means if the A’s wind up playing the one-game wild card contest, there will be some interesting strategy in which players they choose for that game. A pitching staff with maybe two starters and 10 relievers? It’s possible. There figures to be a whole lot of substituting with so much riding on that one game.
But that’s not in the forefront of the A’s thoughts right now. They enter tonight just three games behind the Rangers in the A.L. West. With seven of their final 10 games against Texas, the division crown is still within grasp.
“I don’t think it’s ever not been the focus,” Melvin said. “The whole wild card thing is way too confusing for me to try to follow, to tell you the truth. I look at one number behind us (in the standings), then another. You gotta do math to add it up. We’re just looking, again, at winning on a particular day and knowing there is still a chance we could win our division.”