Detroit left-hander Matthew Boyd hopes to build upon his first road win of the season while Oakland righty Chris Bassitt seeks his first home success of the year when the Tigers and host Athletics close out a four-game series on Sunday afternoon.
The A’s have dominated the first three games en route to extending their winning streak to seven games. They have outscored the Tigers 18-4, out-hit them 24-18 and out-pitched them, getting back-to-back-to-back strong outings from Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas and Cole Irvin.
After winning for the first time in an A’s uniform, Irvin disclosed how the streaking A’s have embraced the mantra “riding the wave.”
“The offense has been turning the bats around and the starters have definitely benefitted from that. We’re on a good wave,” he observed. “We’re pitted. We’re in the barrel of this wave. We’re going to ride the wave the rest of the year.”
Bassitt (1-2, 4.96) will be looking to extend the run of Oakland’s pitching prowess. He is coming off his best game of the season in a 9-5 win at Arizona on Monday, limiting the Diamondbacks to two runs and two hits.
Both of his losses came at home, having allowed seven runs and 13 hits in 11 1/3 innings against Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bassitt, 32, has gone 4-2 with a 3.35 ERA in six career starts against the Tigers. He has struggled a bit with Miguel Cabrera, who has gone 6-for-15 (.400) with a double, but the veteran is missing this series with a strained left bicep.
In Cabrera’s absence, the Tigers have totaled just four extra-base hits in three games. Niko Goodrum has the club’s only homer, which came in Friday’s 8-4 loss.
Meanwhile, the A’s have ripped Tigers pitching for 11 extra-base hits, including two homers by Matt Olson and one apiece from Stephen Piscotty, Matt Chapman, Mark Canha and Aramis Garcia.
Detroit pitchers have aided the Oakland cause with 18 walks, while A’s starters Manaea, Montas and Irvin combined to issue just one free pass in 18 innings.
Having already beaten budding Tigers stars Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize in the series, the A’s will turn their attention Sunday to Boyd (2-1, 1.86), who has pitched well this season.
The 30-year-old sandwiched his only losing effort with two brilliant performances, shutting out Cleveland at home over 5 2/3 innings before limiting Houston to one run in 6 2/3 innings on the road in his last outing on Tuesday.
Boyd has yet to beat Oakland in his career, going 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two starts. First-year A’s Elvis Andrus (8-for-19 with two doubles) and Mitch Moreland (5-for-16 with three doubles and a homer) have been especially tough on him.
Early deficits and a scarcity of baserunners have conspired to stall a running game Tigers manager A.J. Hinch would like to see get in motion, especially with the power bats either missing or on vacation.
“We’d like to run a little bit more,” he said. “We were really aggressive in spring from a mentality standpoint. That’s more important to me than the number of steals.”
The teams have combined for just one steal attempt in the series, with that having been a successful one by Oakland’s Canha in Saturday’s win.
–Field Level Media