PREGAME: Remember when the Tigers bludgeoned the Royals for a series sweep a few weeks back? Yeah, that was the last time they won a series. They have a chance to turn the feat again this afternoon.
It will be Nate Robertson taking the mound for the Tigers. Robertson has been horrific with a 6.11 ERA. He’s allowing 1.3 hits PER INNING. He has been much better at home (4.45 ERA) and much better during the day (4.47 ERA). So maybe he doesn’t blow up today.
Greg Smith takes the ball for the Athletics. He turned in a quality start his last time out against the Blue Jays. He has an okay strike out rate 5.95 and a poor 3.92 walk rate. But he hasn’t given up a lot of hits. He’s given up 62 fewer hits than Robertson in the same number of innings. Lefties have managed only a 572 OPS against him this year. And don’t swing at the first pitch. He’s only allowed a 172/169/328 line when the first pitch is put in play.
POSTGAME: Well this was a nice clean, crisp win. Nate Robertson was in and around the strike zone and efficiently marched through the A’s order for 7.2 innings. In the process he dropped his ERA to the right side of 6.00. Fernando Rodney picked up the last 4 outs, including stranding the runner he inherited, allowing only a double along the way.
The offense had a controlled approach, not offering at pitches out of the strike zone for the most part. They drew 10 walks, though only 2 came around to score. But they did enough to build a comfortable margin by the end of the game.
Gary Sheffield had a kind of cycle of futility. He was 1 for 1 in GIDP opportunities. He also popped up with a runner on second and no outs. And he K’d both looking and swinging.
The only other bad thing about the game was that Curtis Granderson struck out bunting. Grandy has looked so good in so many facets of the game, but his last couple bunt attempts have been awful. I believe it was just last week he popped up a sac bunt attempt.