Series: 2-0, Detroit
Time/Place: 9:00 p.m., Oakland Coliseum
SB Nation Blog: Athletics Nation
Pitching Matchup: RHP Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86 ERA) vs. LHP Brett Anderson (4-2, 2.57 ERA)
Anderson hasn't pitched since allowing three runs in 2 1/3 innings to the Tigers in Detroit on September 19th. He left the game after tweaking his oblique, ending his regular season after just six starts. He missed roughly 14 months prior to his August 21st season debut due to an elbow injury, but showed no signs of rust during the year. He only walked 1.80 batters per 9 innings and allowed just one home run in 35 innings of work.
Sanchez earned the nod over Max Scherzer in Game 3 due to a 2.15 ERA over his last eight starts of the season. He allowed three runs or less in seven of those eight starts. Naturally, that "other" outing was against these same A's. Sanchez allowed six runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings. The silver lining? He struck out eight A's hitters while walking two and only allowed six hits. While health also played a role in Sanchez getting the start tonight, his strong performance down the stretch gave Jim Leyland plenty of confidence that his fourth starter -- seriously, how bananas is it that Sanchez is our fourth best pitcher -- would be able to handle the pressure of the postseason.
The A's have played some of their best baseball this season with their backs against the wall, and it doesn't hurt that the series has shifted to the Oakland Coliseum. Even with the upper deck under wraps, the place will be loud and the A's will be fired up. That being said, don't expect the Tigers to be rattled by the hostile environment. They closed out a playoff series on the road last season and are definitely capable of doing the same this year. I fully believe that the Tigers will be spraying champagne in the visitor's locker room of the Coliseum for the second straight season, but not tonight.
Sanchez pitches well but the A's find a way to get one back, forcing a Game 4 tomorrow night.