Oakland Athletics (84-62) at Detroit Tigers (77-69)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Blog: Athletics Nation
Pitching Matchup: RHP A.J. Griffin (6-0, 1.94 ERA) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (16-6, 3.77 ERA)
Griffin joined the A's rotation in late June and missed nearly the entire month of August due to a shoulder injury, and has amassed just 65 innings of work in 2012. So how good has he been? Those 65 innings have been worth 2.8 WAR, according to Baseball Reference. By comparison, Jered Weaver is worth 3.4 WAR this year. How is Griffin getting it done? By pounding the strike zone (1.52 walks per 9 innings), not allowing runners (0.908 WHIP), and stranding the ones that do eventually reach base (86.5% strand rate). Both Griffin's numbers and his scouting report -- he was considered to be an organizational arm before the season began -- suggest that he will regress eventually, but like the rest of their team, A's fans are enjoying the ride for now.
While Scherzer probably won't win the Cy Young this season, he's banging on the door -- with fastball after fastball ranging from 96-98 mph, naturally -- to be mentioned with the other contenders. Scherzer's run of success continued with a stellar outing against the Chicago White Sox in which Max picked up his career-high 16th win -- though the bullpen did their damnedest to give it away at the end. Scherzer pitched well against the A's earlier this season, striking out 9 hitters in 6 1/3 innings in a 10-6 Tigers victory.
It's basically win or DOOM from here on out. Scherzer pitched well against the A's earlier this season, but he probably won't get much help tonight with the offense facing another red-hot starter in Griffin. The difference? Oakland plays good defense.
An error costs the Tigers and they lose their 3rd straight game.