If you expected the young Athletics to be intimidated and roll over faced with an elimination game, you were disappointed tonight. A quartet of Oakland pitchers shut out the Tigers 2-0 on just 4 hits at the Oakland Coliseum in game three of the divisional series.
Twenty-four year old southpaw Brett Anderson carved up the Tigers with a devastating slider limiting the Tigers to two hits and two walks while striking out six. Under normal circumstances, he could have gone further, but Athletics manager Bob Melvin was being careful with a young pitcher whose regular season ended with an oblique muscle strain. The Tigers did not fair much better versus the Oakland bullpen. Rookies Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle and closer Grant Balfour each pitched a shutout inning while combining for five strikeouts.
The Tigers offense was frustrated all night by defense as well as pitching. Hefty first baseman Prince Fielder was robbed of extra bases twice. First center fielder Coco Crisp made a spectacular leaping catch to take away a homer in the second. Then left fielder Yoenis Cespedes made a diving tumbling catch of a fly ball in the seventh.
This is certainly not the first time the Tigers bats have gone silent on the road this season. They went 38-43 away from Comerica Park during the regular season and the big problem has been lack of offense. They scored 4.1 runs per game on the road versus 4.9 at home during the season.
They are going to need to win one road game if they want to get to the next round. Their next chance will be tomorrow night when right hander Max Scherzer faces another Oakland rookie A.J. Griffin.