ALDS Game 4 Preview: Athletics at Tigers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers are facing elimination if they don't win tonight. Doug Fister is on the mound for Detroit facing Oakland's Dan Straily.

Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers

Series: 2-1, Oakland

Time/Place: 5:00 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation blog: Athletics Nation

Media: TBS, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: RHP Dan Straily (10-8, 3.96 ERA) vs. RHP Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67 ERA)

Pitcher GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WHIP FIP SIERA fWAR
Straily 27 152.1 7.33 3.37 0.95 1.24 4.05 4.32 1.9
Fister 32 208.2 6.86 1.90 0.60 1.31 3.26 3.49 4.5

Straily had one of his worst starts of the season in late August, allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles. In his next start, he scattered eight Tigers hits, allowing one run in six innings. This start served as a springboard to a monster September in which Straily allowed a 2.00 ERA in five starts, four of them A's victories. He had 30 strikeouts in 36 innings, but also walked 15.

Overall, Straily had a very up-and-down season. He had seven starts in which he allowed five runs or more, and eight starts of zero or one run(s) allowed. Despite his solid numbers, he averaged just 5 2/3 innings per start, indicating that A's manager Bob Melvin wasn't afraid to go get Straily early in games. Of course, Straily wasn't the most efficient pitcher either. He had 12 starts with three walks or more this year and went to a three-ball count on 124 of the 640 batters he faced this season.

Fister was shelled in his only outing against the A's this season, allowing seven runs on 13 hits in five innings. He didn't walk anyone, which may have been his downfall, ironically. Fister faced 26 batters but threw just 75 pitches, less than three pitches per plate appearance for an A's lineup that was second in the league in this category in 2013. The A's attacked Fister early in the account to great success en route to a 14-4 victory.

Question of the Day: can the Tigers stave off elimination?

There's really nothing else to ask in today's game. My answer is below, but what do you think?

Outlook

It's simple, really: score runs or go home. The Tigers put up their second three-run inning of the series yesterday and put a runner on base in each inning after that, but weren't able to generate any further offense after the A's took a 6-3 lead. They will have their work cut out for them against Straily, who allowed just 7.8 hits per nine innings this season and held opposing hitters to a .658 OPS with runners on base.

Prediction

Fister struggles early but the offense finds its footing and sends the series back to Oakland.

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