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A’s ready for Game 4, hoping to force a Game 5

Checking in before Game 4 here at the Coliseum. … It’s going to be colder than last night. The wind really kicked up while the A’s took batting practice, so it feels much more like October baseball than that warm homestand the A’s had to close the regular season.

It’s always odd, in the A’s currrent situation, to attend these pregame press conferences with the managers and next day’s starting pitchers. If the A’s don’t win tonight, they won’t have a next game. So you’re asking questions to the effect of, “Bob, in the event there is a Game 5 …”

What I can tell you is I think Jarrod Parker will be a confident pitcher taking the mound tomorrow night if the A’s do extend this to a fifth game. The guy’s got an understated confidence about him, and he had that from early on in the regular season. He won’t be in awe matching up with Justin Verlander after he pitched well against him in Game 1.

“I think it’s what makes this time of year great,” Parker said. “We both have a chance to do a lot of special things. We get to that Game 5 and it’s win or go home. But we’re going to play the game like we normally do. And I think we have the advantage at home.”

Tonight’s lineups:

A’s — Crisp CF, Drew SS, Cespedes LF, Moss 1B, Reddick RF, Donaldson 3B, Smith DH, Norris C, Pennington 2B; Griffin RHP.

Tigers — Jackson CF, Berry LF, Cabrera 3B, Fielder 1B, Young DH, Dirks RF, Peralta SS, Avila C, Infante 2B; Scherzer RHP.

It’s the identical lineup from last night for the A’s. They have six left-handed bats in there against Max Scherzer, which is a good thing considering lefties are hitting .292 against him this season. Righties are at .201.

The A’s are hoping tonight’s starter, A.J. Griffin, can bounce back from his recent struggles. But if he falters, manager Bob Melvin said his bullpen is fresh, so expect him to make a move early. Travis Blackley and/or Evan Scribner would be his first choices for long relief work.

Looking over the Game 3 postgame stats and notes that were handed out, I was struck by how many “firsts” there were for the A’s — Brett Anderson’s first postseason win, Grant Balfour’s first postseason save, Seth Smith’s first postseason homer. The A’s are just an inexperienced playoff team in relation to the Tigers, not that Detroit manager Jim Leyland is putting much stock in that.

“I’ve never believed in that, I believe in talent,” Leyland said. “Somebody always has to win their first one.”

That’s all for now …

Joe Stiglich