Veteran Colon gets the ball for Game 1 of ALDS

tigers-athletics

By Daniel Dullum

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Forty-year-old veteran Bartolo Colon will get the ball from Oakland Manager Bob Melvin to start Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series Friday at the Coliseum.

Colon was an 18-game winner in 2013, went through a slump in August but bounced back for the pennant run. He’ll face Max Scherzer (21-3), who supplanted Justin Verlander as the Tigers’ ace this season.

The A’s will face Verlander in Game 2 on Saturday, countering with rookie Sonny Gray.

With essentially a no-name lineup, the A’s won 96 games this season, but still find themselves underdogs against Detroit, which won its third consecutive AL Central Division title.

Melvin told the Bay Area media Thursday that there is “a good chance” the Yoenis Cespedes will play left field in the ALDS. If Cespedes can work through the discomfort of his sore right shoulder and play left, Melvin said Brandon Moss would be the designated hitter. However, if Cespedes can’t play in the outfield, he would DH and Daric Barton would play at first.

As far as other lineup moves go, Melvin will start Eric Sogard at second base over Alberto Callaspo. Since Callaspo is a switch-hitter, that gives Melvin a little more flexibility with his bench.

On the Detroit side, third baseman Miguel Cabrera, the reigning AL most valuable player, will play despite a nagging groin pull, among other ailments. But Cabrera insists he will be ready for the ALDS.

“I don’t think the groin will be an issue in the series,” Cabrera told the media. “I feel much better the last couple of days.”

First pitch is slated for 6:37 p.m. TBS will televise all games of the best-of-five series.

A’s ACORNS: Dave Henderson, an outfielder on the 1989 Oakland A’s World Series championship team, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday prior to Game 1 of the AL Divisional Series. … Detroit SS Jhonny Peralta is on the Tigers’ 25-man postseason roster. Peralta was suspended for 50 games during the season for his alleged involvement with the Biogenesis clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

 

Manager’s Decisions

By Jerry Feitelberg

One of the most difficult jobs in all of baseball has to be the manager of the club. The manager has many tasks that he has to perform every day. One of those tasks is making out the lineup for each and every game. Some managers like to use a set lineup so that that the players will be hitting in the same spot every day. The Detroit Tigers, for example have Miguel Cabrera hitting third and Prince Fielder hitting fourth. The Tigers do this as it is most beneficial to the especially in the late innings. Other managers like to make changes daily. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, has used, if you can believe this, 132 different lineups in the 152 games the A’s have played so far this year. Some lineup changes are made by necessity as a player may be injured or may have a personal matter that requires him to be away from the club. Melvin, however, is blessed this season with a deep lineup and he can go with a lineup that meets the clubs need on a given day. For instance, if an opposing club is starting a left handed pitcher, Melvin can use the switch hitters and right hand hitters Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes everyday. Melvin can then use right handed hitters at first base, second base, left field and maybe right field. When the A’s are facing a righty, Melvin uses his lefty bats at catcher, DH, second base, first base  and left field. These moves don’t always work but they give him a lot of flexibility so that the A’s can win.

Another task is deciding what roles the pitchers are to have. Who will be the starters. That again depends on the health of the players. Once  the manager establishes the starting rotation, he has to decide which pitcher will be his “long man.” The long relievers come in when the starter has a bad outing and has an early exit from the game. Decisions have to be made on the “set up “ guys. Who will pitch the seventh inning? Who will pitch the eighth? Who will be the closer ? And who will pitch if any of these key pitchers are unavailable due to a heavy workload. The manager has to make decisions all through the game. Do I bring in a lefty to face a lefty? Decisions are made on how well a particular pitcher gets out a certain hitter. For example, Melvin brought in Jerry Blevins to face the Angels’ Josh Hamilton the other night. Hamilton hits from the left side and has a lot of power. Blevins, however has great numbers against Hamilton. Melvin brought him in to pitch in a key situation and Blevins struck Hamilton out. Melvin is a genius. In another game with the A’s leading 4-2, Melvin brought in his closer, Grant Balfour, to face Hamilton. This time Hamilton won the battle as he hit a two run homer to tie the game in the ninth and the Angels eventually won the game. Have to remove the genius tag.

There are so many more decisions that a manager has to make during the game such having the runner steal a base or putting down a sacrifice bunt to move a runner into scoring position. So many more things going on in the manager’s mind as the game moves along and far too many to list at this time.

So, when you go to the game, it’s fun to see if you can guess what the manager is going to do. Also, keep in the mind, the opposing manager is doing the same game and it is this mind game that makes baseball the magical game that it is.