Athletics 2, Tigers 0 (box score)
A funny thing happens when a team doesn’t get any hits: they don’t get any runs. That was the story for the Tigers on Tuesday night as their bats went silent. They managed only four hits all game – just two against starter Brett Anderson across six innings – walked only twice, and went down on strikes eleven times.
Detroit’s only semblance of a threat came in the second inning. Prince Fielder lead off the inning with a bomb to center field that would have cleared the fence had Coco Crisp not timed a jump perfectly to rob it. Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta followed with back-to-back singles before Andy Dirks and Avisail Garcia each grounded out to end the inning. Who knows what would have happened had Crisp not kept Fielder’s deep fly ball in play? We don’t know for sure that Young and Peralta would have still come away with base hits, but it’s very possible the Tigers plate two-runs that inning and limit Anderson to only five innings.
We could speculate all night, but the fact is that Crisp made a spectacular play – atoning for his Game Two gaffe – and the Tigers couldn’t muster a competent offensive attack. The big take away from the Game Four loss is that it takes more than zero runs to win a ball game. Hard hitting analysis, I know.
It’s too bad the offense was so silent because it wouldn’t have taken much to steal a win. Anibal Sanchez pitched fairly well, even if he wasn’t particularly sharp, and the bullpen trio of Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, and Rick Porcello took care of business without running into any trouble.
The good news is that this was really a matchup between Detroit’s fourth best starter and Oakland’s ace, so you don’t really expect to win it, but that doesn’t excuse the goose egg. The Tigers still have Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander (if necessary) in line to pitch in this series, so they have the pitching necessary to get the job done. The bats will need to arrive in Oakland soon, however.