OAKLAND -- Prior to this year, the A's started just two rookies in 147 postseason games. By night's end, they'll have used three in one series.
Righty A.J. Griffin, who started Game 4 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday following starts by fellow rookies Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone, as well as lefty Brett Anderson, became the third rookie pitcher to start a game in this series, making the A's the first team in history to start as many rookies.
Moreover, with relievers Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle having already seen action against the Tigers, Griffin also becomes the fifth rookie to pitch for the A's in this series. Only one other team, the 1944 Cardinals, had used five different rookie pitchers in one postseason.
"I wasn't aware that there was nobody else that has had three rookie pitchers," manager Bob Melvin said, "but we've been dealing with that all year. We've had a number of rookie pitchers here, whether it's in the rotation or bullpen, that we count on very heavily. Feather in their hat that they're able to handle it."
Parker and Milone, who together totaled 26 wins during the regular season, combined to allow just four earned runs over 12 1/3 innings in two losses over the weekend in Detroit, before Anderson's gutty six-inning scoreless performance on Tuesday.
"We're a young staff and we try to bounce as many things off of each other as we can," Parker said. "And we try to learn from each other and try to do as much as we can to learn and take the knowledge that we have out on the mound. One guy throws a game and does something, I'm going to ask him what he's doing to get this guy out, and vice versa.
"There's been times this year where we've tried to one up each other, and it's made for a competitive but solid relationship for all of us."
The only other times the A's have thrown rookies out onto the mound for a postseason start were in 1913, when Joe Bush made a start in the World Series, and most recently, in 2000, when Barry Zito drew a start in the ALDS.