|Anibal Sanchez and Brett Anderson will square off Tuesday in Oakland. (US Presswire)|
Two games, two nip-and-tuck affairs, but the A's head home on the brink of elimination.
In major league history, just seven teams have come back from down 0-2 to win a best-of-five series (coincidentally, the A's have been the squandering team in two of those seven series). Obviously, the odds are stacked against Oakland. On the other hand, the odds have been stacked against Oakland all season ...
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Sanchez vs. Athletics
Prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, Sanchez had spent his entire major league career with the Marlins, so he's faced the A's only one time in his career. That was on Sept. 20 of this year, when Oakland knocked him around for six runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings. The A's also worked him for 106 pitches over that brief span. Current Oakland hitters, for their careers, are batting .283/.323/.467 against Sanchez across 66 plate appearances. Obviously, sample-size caveats abound.
This season, Sanchez has posted a 3.29 ERA on the road (versus a 4.52 mark at home), and for his career he checks in at 3.92 away on the road (versus a 3.56 mark at home). He'll also be pitching on eight days' rest when he takes the mound for Game 3. Sanchez in his career has made 23 career starts on six or more days of rest, and in those starts he's posted a nifty 3.07 ERA, which is significantly better than his ERA on normal or five days' rest. So perhaps he responds well to extra time off.
Anderson vs. Tigers
Nothing's final yet, but it does appear that Anderson will take the bump for Game 3. The young lefty hasn't pitched since Sept. 19 because of an oblique injury, but he's declared himself ready after he played catch without pain on Sunday. That's good news for Oakland, as Anderson is potentially the team's best starter.
Anderson is in his Tommy John surgery bounce-back season, and he's been outstanding across six starts. In four career starts against the Tigers, he's posted a 3.78 ERA, but he's issued eight unintentional walks in 16 2/3 innings. Current Detroit hitters have combined to hit .282/.364/.359 against Anderson, but it's over a sample of just 44 plate appearances.
Also worth noting: Tigers hitters have been substantially less effective against lefties this season.