DETROIT -- Needing one win to clinch their ALDS against the Tigers, the A's are going with the same lineup as in Game 3 today behind right-hander Dan Straily. That lineup finally broke out Monday with three home runs against A.L. ERA leader Anibal Sanchez, and will face another tough right-hander today in Doug Fister, who went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA during the regular season.
"Fister's no easy challenge, but we have all the confidence in the world after beating Anibal Sanchez and we feel like we can come in here and do a good job of battling against these guys," right fielder Josh Reddick said today. "It's a tough task ... but we're the team with the momentum in our favor and they're the team with their backs against the wall."
Manager Bob Melvin, for one, isn't taking anything for granted. Tigers manager Jim Leyland was asked before the game what his tentative pitching plans are for a potential Game 5 on Thursday in Oakland. Leyland said he hopes to have Max Scherzer ready to go, but he added he might consider using Scherzer in relief today if the Tigers were to have a late lead and Scherzer felt OK in pre-game warm-ups.
The Tigers would still be able to start Justin Verlander in Game 5 on regular rest. Melvin, meanwhile, was asked whom he would use to start Thursday and responded: "I'm not even thinking about Game 5 right now. We've got to get through this one." Melvin did say he would not consider using Bartolo Colon in relief today.
The full A's lineup against Fister looks like this:
And the Tigers' lineup against Straily:
* Lowrie remains in the No. 3 spot despite the fact he's hitless during the series in 12 at-bats with six strikeouts. One of the A's most consistent hitters in the regular season, Melvin said Lowrie may be pressing a little after a slow start.
"It's not like he's lunging or missing pitches by a foot," Melvin said. "He just hasn't squared anything up like we're used to seeing him do. But my feeling is he will."
* After Game 3, right-hander Jarrod Parker said he didn't put up much of an argument over Melvin's decision to take him out after five innings and 73 pitches. Today, Melvin said Parker may not have been pitching at 100 percent physically.
"I think he was just a little run-down yesterday," Melvin said. "The ball probably wasn't coming out of his hand like it normally does, and he was fighting himself to an extent. ... All things considered, it just didn't look 100 percent right."
Parker threw 197 innings during the regular season and had a streak of 19 consecutive unbeaten starts where he was often pitching late into games. But he also allowed seven runs in two of his final three regular-season starts, and Melvin indicated the right-hander may have battled fatigue that carried over into Monday's start.
"A little bit, maybe," Melvin said. "Whether it's a dead arm or it's a period where he's just getting a little bit tired potentially."
Asked whether it's cause for concern, Melvin said: "I don't know. I think we'll see how he responds in the next couple days and how he feels physically."
Parker did earn the win by pitching five innings and leaving with the lead, but Melvin said he noticed Parker wasn't his normal self from the outset. He said it appeared Parker had "maybe not his best velocity at times, maybe the late movement that he creates a lot of times maybe wasn't there."
The A's will monitor Parker's throwing today, Melvin said.
* Regarding the Grant Balfour-Victor Martinez run-in during the ninth inning Monday, Melvin reiterated he was a little surprised to see it develop the way he did, and that the emotion Balfour shows on the mound is "just kind of who he is." Melvin did say he has talked with Balfour in the past about "how things look, perceptions," but that he didn't broach that topic yesterday because it didn't appear Balfour did much out of the ordinary before Martinez objected.
Reddick, meanwhile, said he doesn't expect any carry-over from the incident today. "We've all seen Balfour when he pitches, he's yelling at baseballs, blades of grass, the mound, who knows what's going on. But I think it's heat of the moment, and Victor took it the wrong way.
"I don't see it carrying over when a team is on the verge of elimination. I highly dobut they're going to hit somebody to put him on ... I know we're not going to do that to give them a chance to come back."
* Straily today will become the fifth A's rookie pitcher to start a playoff game in the last two seasons. He faced the Tigers once this season in August and allowed one run on eight hits in six innings. This start carries a few more implications.
Video from A's victory in game 3: