By John Hickey
Thursday, April 11th, 2013 at 11:26 pm in 2013 regular season.
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear.
It’s too early in the season to make a big deal about the Tigers and the A’s meeting this weekend in Oakland.
Yes, Detroit knocked Oakland out of the playoffs last October, and yes, the A’s will be facing the same three starting pitchers – Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez – they faced in the 2012 playoffs.
And yes, the A’s are the hottest team in baseball with eight consecutive wins after sweeps on the road in Houston and Anaheim.
But hey, it’s just April, right?
Josh Donaldson said there are veterans on the team of a year ago who wouldn’t mind a little payback, and the A’s are in pretty good position to give it. They lead the majors with 18 home runs and own a .331 average during the winning streak, .292 overall.
It’s never too soon to establish a little dominance, so a good showing this weekend would be beneficial for Oakland. If they could crack the shell of invulnerability around Verlander on Saturday, that carry over to any possible post-season meeting, because the A’s and the Tigers only meet once more this year, the last week of August in Motown.
One thing the A’s made clear, the matchup with the Tigers is more on their mind than the eight-game winning streak is.
“We’re not going to get caught up in a winning streak,’’ starter A.J. Griffin said. He has two of the eight winnings, including beating the Angels Thursday 8-1. “As players, we’re not thinking about that. We just want to get caught up in playing good baseball.’’