For those who thought NFL games start early on Sunday morning, the A’s are taking it to another level with today’s 9 a.m. (PT) start against Detroit in Game 2 of the A.L. Divisional Series. Yes, it is a raw deal for a team that technically has “home-field advantage” in this series. The A’s are still probably on West Coast time, so it will feel like they’re taking the field at 9 a.m. even though it’s a noon start. But as A’s manager Bob Melvin pointed out last night, this isn’t the first time the A’s have traveled east and faced this. They’ve also faced bad umpiring before, and they were victim to some of that last night with Jim Reynolds’ strike zone. But none of that matters right now. They need to get their bats going and gain a split here before heading back to Oakland for Game 3 on Tuesday. Rookie starter Tommy Milone has a lot on his shoulders today, but the A’s also need to do some damage against Tigers starter Doug Fister. They’ll attempt to with virtually the same lineup as Saturday’s, aside from George Kottaras starting behind the plate instead of Derek Norris.
A’s — Crisp CF, Drew SS, Cespedes LF, Moss 1B, Reddick RF, Donaldson 3B, Smith DH, Kottaras C, Pennington 2B; Milone LHP.
Tigers — Jackson CF, Infante 2B, Cabrera 3B, Fielder 1B, Young DH, Peralta SS, Dirks LF, Garcia RF, Laird C; Fister RHP.
–Melvin did not officially announce Brett Anderson as the Game 3 starter, but he left no secret that that’s the likely plan. The A’s will make an announcement Monday, and they simply want to make sure Anderson continues to progress from his strained oblique. Melvin said today’s outcome isn’t a main factor in the decision. He wants Anderson out there “win, lose or draw … sooner rather than later.”
–Jonny Gomes was the A’s player who addressed the media in the pregame press conference, funny in that Gomes didn’t play Saturday and isn’t in today’s lineup either. With Detroit starting four right-handers in this series, Gomes knew he might not play much. Melvin hasn’t shut the door on giving Gomes a start, and he said he’ll likely turn to Gomes before Chris Carter when it comes to right-handed bats that might jump-start the offense. Gomes, for his part, is lobbying his teammates to win this series and get to the A.L.C.S. Both the Orioles and Yankees have more left-handed pitchers than Detroit. His message to his teammates: “Just get me to the next (series) so I can get my fighting license back.”