Join Jon Becker for the fifth and deciding game of the American League Division Series between the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers.
As the A’s and Tigers prepare for a climactic Game 5 at the Oakland Coliseum on Thursday night, it’s worth watching what the team and Major League Baseball apparently didn’t want you to see.
That would be: magical Oakland A’s moments in Oakland. (See video)
Legendary PA announcer Roy Steele, better known as “The Voice of God” for how he brought thunder with his vocal chords, was apparently enlisted to stroll down memory lane to get fans pumped for the team’s second straight trip to the playoffs. It appeared on the web briefly last week, but then disappeared.
It reappeared this week on YouTube with the poster claiming it was intended to be shown in-stadium at A’s playoff games, but was yanked by Commissioner Bud Selig.
Add your own blue-ribbon punchlines here.
A’s manager Bob Melvin loved what he saw out of Sonny Gray in Game 2 so much that he chose the rookie to start Game 5 instead of Bartolo Colon.
Do you agree with his choice of starting pitchers?
Sports Illustrated’s Ted Keith breaks down what will decide the final game of the ALDS between the A’s and the Detroit Tigers.
The A’s have been very good at deflecting pressure, putting one foot in front of the other and moving on a very orderly path through the 2013 season.
Does all that change now, with the season down to one game?
They won’t want to admit it, but yes it does.
Just not so much for the players. Most of them went through the disappointment of losing in Game 5 of the 2012 playoffs to Detroit and Justin Verlander, and they know the obstacle the Tigers are.
UPDATED at 6:35 p.m. PT
Is there a case to be made for Sonny Gray as the Game 5 starter if the A’s and Tigers wind up getting there?
A’s manager Bob Melvin has to make that call in the next 48 hours after an 8-6 loss to Detroit forced the American League Division Series to a decisive fifth game Thursday.
Before the game, the A’s were going with Game 1 starter Bartolo Colon in Game 5. Colon, the loser in a 3-2 game, may be replaced by Gray, who threw eight shutout innings against the Tigers in Game 2.
Asked after Tuesday’s game in Comerica Park, Melvin said “I haven’t decided yet,” when ask about his Game 5 starter. The Tigers have. By using Max Scherzer in relief to get the win Tuesday, Detroit committed to Justin Verlander, who threw a shutout at the A’s in Game 5 in Oakland last year.
Gray last pitched on Thursday, as did Verlander in a game the A’s won 1-0 after both men were out of the game. Both men would be going on their every-fifth day turn if they are matched up again.
Colon, the A’s 18-game winner who pitched reasonably well but lost Game 1 in the Coliseum, would be pitching with extra rest, which isn’t that big a deal.
What is a big deal is that the Tigers, who have seen Colon over the years, have a book on him. They know what he throws. Colon can beat them, but he hasn’t this year. The A’s are 1-2 in games Colon has pitched against the Tigers this year.
He got no decisions in the two games he pitched against them in the regular season, one win and one loss. The A’s won the first game in 12 innings in the Coliseum in April after Colon allowed three runs in seven innings. The Tigers scored a walkoff win against Grant Balfour on Aug. 29 after Colon had allowed one run in five innings and left with a 6-1 lead.
Gray has only pitched once against the Tigers, but it was a true eye-opener, an eight-inning, four-hit, two-walk, no-run effort in which he, too, didn’t get the win. After Balfour pitched a scoreless ninth inning Saturday in Oakland, the A’s got a walkoff win on Stephen Vogt’s bases-loaded single in the ninth.
Afterward the Tigers were full of praise for Gray, who has pitched well in 10 of his 11 starts since his promotion from Triple-A Sacramento.
The Vanderbilt product seems destined to be a star. What the A’s have to decide now is if they want to double down on Gray in this series.
One major byproduct would mean that Colon would get the Game 1 start against the Red Sox in Fenway Park, where the series will start if Boston comes out of the other ALDS on top, rather than Gray, who has never pitched here.
A’s manager Bob Melvin, in having Gray pitch Game 2 against the Tigers, made a big case for how Gray has pitched well in big games in the Coliseum.
This move would support that.
Join Jon Becker for a live chat as the Oakland Athletics try to wrap up their American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers.
There’s something about seeing the benches clear that elevates baseball.
Or at least it seems to elevate interest in baseball, which isn’t exactly the same thing.
The question is – should it?
When Victor Martinez, who is a fiery guy, took exception to the nonstop chatter put forward by A’s closer Grant Balfour in the ninth inning, it made for great theater.
Players, coaches and managers from both benches swarmed the field. Umpires tried to get between Balfour and Martinez. Members of the bullpens, always late to this kind of party, jogged in. A’s starter Jarrod Parker, on his way from the clubhouse to the field just so he could watch the last couple of outs, had to have somebody tell him what happened.
As it turned out, not much did. Martinez was ticked off. Balfour Rage is not a concept he’s familiar with, apparently, but the A’s clsoer is always yelling, mostly at himself, and most of the time opponents don’t give it a second thought.
This time they did. Did it matter? No. The A’s were ahead 6-3 with three outs to go and Balfour on the mound. After things settled down, Balfour got the three outs and the game went in the books as a 6-3 A’s win.
Will there be any carryover? It seems unlikely. Torii Hunter, one of the Tigers’ leaders, has known Balfour as an opponent for years. He said that the talk was just the way Balfour is and there wouldn’t be any carryover.
But it’s a good bet that the first clip on ESPN will be the benches clearing.
Like we said. It’s great theater.
Join Jon Becker for a live chat as the Oakland Athletics take on the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of their American League Division Series.