Cespedes or Cabrera -- which injury could loom larger?
Bartolo Colon became the first player to win the first seven starts of his 40s. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND – Bartolo Colon will take the ball, as expected, for the Oakland A’s in Game 1 of the American League Division Series that starts Friday against Detroit.
The rest of manager Bob Melvin’s rotation holds a couple of surprises.
Rookie Sonny Gray will start Game 2 on Saturday at the Coliseum, with Jarrod Parker being saved for Game 3 in Detroit on Aug. 7. Dan Straily will start Game 4 instead of A.J. Griffin, who Melvin said has been dealing with mild tendinitis in his throwing elbow for the past few starts. That injury hadn’t previously been revealed.
It was generally assumed that Parker would start Game 2 ever since Melvin mentioned on the last road trip that it made sense to line up the best starters and pitch them one after another. Colon and Parker have been the A’s unquestioned best starters all season, and Parker had been following right after Colon in the natural flow of the rotation.
But the A’s like Parker – who started Game 1 of last year’s ALDS in Detroit – pitching on the road and giving Gray the luxury of throwing in front of the home crowd.
“We think he’s a little better suited to pitch in Detroit, not that anybody else couldn’t. But he has before,” Melvin said of Parker. “He pitched the first game there last year. It’s a little different environment. So we’ll pitch Sonny in (Game) 2 here at home.
“The Griffin decision is based more on health than anything else. He’s been dealing with some mild elbow tendinitis for the last several starts. He’s been able to get through it and get ready for his next start. But it hasn’t been getting any better.”
In other roster news, the A’s will keep three catchers for the ALDS – Stephen Vogt, Derek Norris and Kurt Suzuki – with first baseman Nate Freiman being left off the roster for this round. Freiman has been limited by an abdominal strain recently, which played a part in the decision, according to Melvin.
A's 25-man playoff roster:
Pitchers (11) – Brett Anderson, Grant Balfour, Jerry Blevins, Jesse Chavez, Bartolo Colon, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, Sonny Gray, Dan Otero, Jarrod Parker, Dan Straily.
Infielders (6): Daric Barton, Alberto Callaspo, Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, Eric Sogard.
Outfielders (5): Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, Chris Young.
Catchers (3): Derek Norris, Kurt Suzuki, Stephen Vogt.