The Oakland Athletics are hoping they’re peaking at the right time.
Following a six-game losing streak, they have won three straight to improve their postseason outlook. They won the opener of a six-game road trip in Detroit on Tuesday, slugging past the Tigers 9-3.
The Athletics are one game behind the Boston Red Sox in the chase for the American League’s second wild-card berth, and five games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.
“It’s been some rocky seas, that’s for sure,” Matt Chapman, who homered twice Tuesday, said in a postgame TV interview. “Ride the wave, and when you’re on a pirate ship, anything can happen. The morale’s been pretty good. Our team doesn’t get too down. That’s a big attribute for our team and why we’ve been able to bounce back.”
The A’s defeated the New York Yankees twice over the weekend to halt the six-game slide.
A’s starter James Kaprielian (7-4, 3.65 ERA) will look to rebound from one of his worst outings this season in the second game of the three-game series. The right-hander surrendered six runs, including three home runs, to the Yankees in five innings on Thursday.
“I’m bummed with the way it went but proud of the way I competed, because I felt like I made some good pitches and my stuff was decent and they put some good swings on me,” he said. “I’m learning you have to tip your cap, and those guys were swinging the bat pretty good.”
The rookie will be making his first appearance against the Tigers.
Right-hander Wily Peralta is expected to come off the 10-day injured list and start for Detroit. Peralta, who was sidelined with a blister on his pitching hand, has made 12 starts in his 13 appearances this season.
Peralta (3-3, 3.63) gave up two runs on six hits in six innings at Toronto on Aug. 21 in his last outing. He has provided stability to an injury-ravaged staff.
“His command of his fastball is why he’s been able to be pretty consistent in the rotation,” manager AJ Hinch said. “Everybody has secondary pitches, everybody has a fastball, but where you locate it against your opponent and how you attack their weakness is going to keep you in the game. It’s all revolved around his fastball command.”
The 32-year-old has never faced Oakland during his career.
A bright spot for the Tigers on Tuesday was Robbie Grossman’s team-high 20th homer. Grossman, the team’s recipient of the Heart + Hustle award, signed a two-year, $10 million contract after playing for the A’s last season.
“He’s the definition of heart and hustle,” Hinch said. “I think it’s so ironic that he gets this award with a lot of friends and ex-teammates across the way in the other dugout. They know exactly why he got this award for us this year. … For his first year here, to come in and show this fan base, show his teammates and show the organization that it was a great move to sign him, that to me is a great hat tip to him.”
–Field Level Media