After just three hits in game one and scoring just one run in game two, many people are wondering if the Oakland Athletics offense will come to life for the rest of the series. Oakland has only scored three runs in both games against Detroit. Luckily, the one run they scored in game two gave them a victory to tie the series at one game apiece.
If the Athletics are going to score runs with more consistency, Game 3 is going to be a very difficult time to start. The reason for the difficulty is none other than the Detroit pitcher who has already been given the go-ahead for Monday night’s game: Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez has had a tremendous year so far. He has an ERA of 2.57, 202 strikeouts, a 14-8 record, and a WHIP of 1.15.
More troubling still is the fact Sanchez pitched very well during the playoffs last year. He gave up two runs to the Athletics, kept the Yankees scoreless, and struck out eight batters during his starts during last year’s post-season.
There is, however, some hope. Most notably, as Athletics probably remember, the two runs the scored against him last year was enough to win the game. In fact, the seven scoreless innings he pitched against the Yankees was his only post-season win he recorded. Still, given the Tigers have what might be the best offense in the majors, Oakland is going to have to make contact with the ball and hit runners in to score.
Game 1 was dismal, but Yoenis Cespedes did provide some offense. When Detroit’s pitcher neared the 100-pitch mark, Cespedes hit a homer that scored both him and Brandon Moss, who had just singled. Other than that, only the three walks from Coco Crisp provided any offense. Game two showed signs of hope. Six batters, instead of only two, got hits, including two more from Cespedes. The problem the Athletics had was stranding runners in scoring positions.
The Athletics do have a very good offense. The rank fourth in runs scored, fourth in slugging percentage, and eight in onbase percentage. We can also see a trend of hitting improving from the first game of the series, which is a very good sign. Also, since Cespedes has been able to consistently get hits, there’s no reason why he can’t do the same in Game 3.
This brings us back to the original question, will the Athletics’ offense wake up against the Tigers? I think it will. It’s true Sanchez is going to be a tough pitcher for the Athletics to face, but Cespedes has been hot these last couple of games, and Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson are both due for good games at the plate.
The Athletics have played well offensively all year, so it doesn’t seem likely they will continue to struggle for much longer.