With his club facing elimination from the playoffs on Tuesday, manager Bob Melvin essentially ran out the same starting nine for Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Tigers that yielded losses in the first two contests. Melvin's reasoning was rather simple, and in a way, representative of his insistence on not panicking despite the dire circumstances of the night ahead.
"We're going to stick with the lineup that we feel played well here down the stretch," said Melvin, who has perfectly orchestrated his many platoons on a daily basis in an effort to allow each of his players to succeed.
That again meant playing the left-handed-hitting Brandon Moss over Chris Carter and Seth Smith, who also bats from the left side, rather than Jonny Gomes, to give the A's four left-handed starters and a pair of switch-hitters against Detroit righty Anibal Sanchez.
"Brandon Moss has been quite the weapon for us here recently against right-handed pitching," Melvin said. "Brandon Moss is going to play. We do try to get Jonny in there when we can. You're looking at the numbers, [Smith] probably has the best numbers off of their starter today."
Smith, who was hitless in five at-bats over the weekend, indeed has Sanchez's number, having hit him for a .462 average (6-for-13) with two home runs and a walk.
The eighth spot of Oakland's lineup has been the only one prone to change in the postseason, with catchers Derek Norris and George Kottaras alternating in and out of the slot. On Tuesday it was Norris, who started Saturday's opener, back behind the plate.