After deflating losses, it's desperation time in the 'D'

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After deflating losses, it's desperation time in the 'D'

DETROIT -- One of the symbols of the Motor City is a huge 80-foot tall Uniroyal Tire that stands on the side of the I-94 freeway. It can be seen on the drive from the airport to the ballpark. The tire is one of the largest roadside attractions in the world. The Giants may as well pay it a visit on the way out of town and flatten it too. Because they've managed to take the air completely out of the Tigers' tires this entire series. The numbers are staggering. San Francisco's starting pitchers have allowed just one run in the first three games. They've held the Tigers scoreless in back-to-back games. They are up three games to none and no team in 23 chances has blown a lead like that in World Series history.
RATTO: Giants' starting staff pitching at historic level
"I can paint a rosy picture, but the picture isn't rosy right now," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "So, I can stay up here and try to paint the best picture, but we've got to go out and win a game somehow." The deadly fangs in the Tigers' bite, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, have been ground to a harmless nub by the Giants arms. Cabrera and Fielder are hitting a combined .158 with no homers and one RBI. In Game 3, Cabrera popped out with the bases loaded and earlier in the game Fielder grounded into an inning-ending double play with two runners on. After the Game 3 loss, Cabrera ducked out without speaking to the media. That may not sound like a huge crime, but as a veteran and a leader on the team, Cabrera not speaking to the media leaves the younger and less experienced players stuck answering the tough questions after a loss on the game's biggest stage. "I will deal with the situation and check into it," Leyland said. "You can't be on this podium only when you win. When we're 0-3, I've got to be up here and I'm not the happiest camper in the world." The Tigers have plenty of reasons to be frustrated. They aren't getting it done when it matters the most. Tigers hitters are a combined 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position in the World Series. With runners in scoring position in the regular season the Tigers hit .286. In the ALDS they hit .250 with RISP. In the ALCS their average with RISP was .295.
"We'd love to be swinging the bats great but all postseason we really haven't swung the bats," designated hitter Delmon Young said. "We hit at the right time against Oakland, New York looked like us right now."The Tigers embarrassed a Yankees team that looked completely lost in the ALCS in a four-game sweep. Their dominance may have done more damage than good. The result of the sweep was a five-day layoff while the Giants battled the Cardinals in a seven-game NLCS. The Tigers spent the days off scrimmaging and working out in hopes of avoiding the dreaded rust factor, but in the World Series they're having trouble grinding out quality at-bats. To the Tigers' credit, they aren't blaming the time off for their struggles. "I don't think we could have worked any harder," outfielder Quintin Berry said. "We went through pretty much a full day of spring training every day." "There's nothing possibly we could have done more," he added. -- In order to stay alive, Detroit will have to beat Giants' ace Matt Cain. He is starting the fourth game of the series because he pitched Game 7 in the NLCS. Cain is 4-2 with 1.83 ERA in seven career postseason starts. Cain has never faced the Tigers and is making his Comerica Park debut. --Max Scherzer takes the hill for Detroit. He is 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA in six career postseason games. He is 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA in four appearances against the Giants. He was lit up in his previous start against San Francisco. On July 2, 2011, he faced the Giants at Comerica Park and lasted just two innings and allowed nine runs -- six earned. If the Tigers can survive Game 4 they get ace Justin Verlander on the mound with a chance to swing momentum back in their favor. While the situation is certainly grim, the Tigers believe anything can happen. "It's not another day at the office but it's not desperation either," scheduled Game Five starting pitcher Justin Verlander said. "Hey, we won four in a row against the Yankees. "Who's to say we can't do it against these guys." -- Alex Avila was scratched from the lineup on Sunday with a sore right wrist. He incurred the injury when he was stuck by a foul ball. Gerald Laird takes his spot in the lineup.

A's name Kendall Graveman 2017 Opening Day starter

A's name Kendall Graveman 2017 Opening Day starter

MESA, Ariz. -- Kendall Graveman was announced as the A's Opening Night starter, confirmation of a move that had become obvious the more that spring training progressed.

With Sonny Gray set to begin the season on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle, Graveman is the veteran presence in the rotation and coming off the best 2016 season of any Oakland starter.

His performance this spring only strengthened his status. In his last outing, he threw six innings and faced just one batter over the minimum in that span.

Manager Bob Melvin said Sean Manaea will be the No. 2 starter followed by Jharel Cotton. The last two rotation spots are still open, though Melvin acknowledged that Andrew Triggs would have the inside track on one if the season began tomorrow.

Jesse Hahn and Raul Alcantara are also competing for those jobs. Alcantara takes the ball against Milwaukee on Thursday.

A's spring training Day 37: Triggs strengthens his bid for rotation spot

A's spring training Day 37: Triggs strengthens his bid for rotation spot

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Last year Andrew Triggs was one of an assembly line of starting pitchers the A’s ran out to the mound after injuries took their toll.

This spring, Triggs looks ready to assume a more instrumental role. On Wednesday, he stepped up with his best effort of the spring in Oakland’s 5-3 victory over the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

He fared well against a Chicago lineup saturated with left-handed hitters. He commanded his fastball. His curve had bite to it. And with his cutter lacking, Triggs kept hitters off-balance with his changeup and threw five innings of three-hit ball. He gave up two runs, struck out four and didn’t issue a walk.

In short, it was everything manager Bob Melvin needed to see as he evaluates whether this late-blooming right-hander is ready for the starting rotation.

“This was his best outing so far,” Melvin said. “His best command, sharpest breaking ball. He had good movement on his fastball. Once you’re getting out there to 75-80 pitches, you’ve got a chance to not only evaluate performance, there’s endurance involved. Everything.”

Triggs, 28, had surrendered six runs in just 3 2/3 innings his last time out against Cleveland. He was much more efficient Wednesday.

“I felt like I had a pretty good feel for most everything in the arsenal,” he said.

Most of Triggs’ major league work last season, in his first taste of the bigs, came in relief. If he’s to pitch every fifth day in 2017, he needs to show he can retire lefties consistently, and remain effective two and three times through a batting order.

Catcher Stephen Vogt believes Triggs has the repertoire to do that.

“The nice part about a four-pitch mix is very rarely are you gonna have all four on any given night. So if two go away, you've got two more to back it up,” Vogt said. “Today his cutter, usually one of his better pitches, wasn’t that great. He needed to rely more on the changeup and he did.

“Then he gets those swings and misses with the big breaking ball. It’s fun to make the crowd kind of ‘woo.’ It’s always a good sign.”

STOCK RISING: Another pitcher who helped his cause Wednesday was Frankie Montas, who struck out four over two scoreless innings to seal the victory.

“He continues to do what he continues to do,” Melvin said. “He’s throwing more and more breaking balls too.”

In Montas’ four outings, he’s allowed just one earned run over eight innings for a 1.13 ERA. He’s struck out nine and walked one. In light of Melvin saying his bullpen could use a reliever that can handle multiple innings, Montas has positioned himself squarely in the conversation for a 25-man roster spot.

NOTEWORTHY: The A’s have collected 10 doubles over their last two games, and Wednesday they jumped ahead with big offense early once again. Ryon Healy went 2-for-3 with an RBI and is hitting .359. Vogt is also swinging it well. He doubled home two runs in the first and is batting .324.

FAMILIAR FACE: : Tyler Ladendorf, who spent the previous seven-plus seasons in the A’s organization, entered mid-game at shortstop for the Sox and struck out in his only at-bat. Ladendorf signed with Chicago on a minor league deal earlier this spring.

ODDS AND ENDS: With their 13th victory, the A’s (13-10) eclipsed their win total from all of last spring with 11 games still to go. … Sonny Gray (strained lat muscle) felt good a day after playing catch for the first time in two weeks. He was set to do so again Wednesday. … Rajai Davis (1-for-3) scored two runs and notched his fifth stolen base. … Ryan Madson gave up a run in his one inning of work. His ERA is 7.50 through six outings. He’s allowed 10 hits over six innings. … Santiago Casilla, in his fourth appearance, threw a scoreless inning with one hit and one walk.