As I noted before the game, the Tigers present a tough match-up for the A's in at least one respect.
But as I also noted, the A's did play better than the Tigers over the last six months -- well, the last three months for sure -- with more wins and a better run differential in a tougher division. They must have done something better than the Tigers, right?
Well, yeah. To name just one thing, they fielded better. They fielded a lot better. According to Baseball Prospectus's Park Adjusted Defensive Efficiency -- quite simply, a measure of how many batted balls got turned into outs -- the A's were fourth-best in the major leagues this year. And the Tigers? Twenty-seventh.
Which doesn't mean the Tigers can't make great plays. But in this game, the A's have made a couple of fantastic defensive plays. In the bottom of the second, shortstop Stephen Drew made a diving stop to rob Delmon Young of a leadoff single. And in the bottom of third, second baseman Cliff Pennington ranged well into center field to make this rally-killing play ...
In a semi-related note, it's still 2-1 after four innings, thanks to an inning-ending, strike-'em-out-throw-'em-out double play. Jarrod Parker's losing, but he's thrown only 60 pitches. Justin Verlander's winning, but he's thrown 78 pitches. Soon we'll know if any of that matters.