A’s feel ready to face loaded Tigers rotation 

click to enlarge Justin Verlander
  • Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports
  • Justin Verlander
In 2012, Justin Verlander practically beat the A’s single-handedly in the best-of-five American League Division Series. Now, the 30-year-old flamethrower is playing second fiddle in the Detroit Tigers’ postseason rotation.

The Tigers’ rotation is the best in baseball this year with five 13-game winners, including Verlander (13-12), AL Cy Young Award favorite Max Scherzer (21-3) and league ERA champion Anibal Sanchez (14-8). In 2013, the Tigers’ pitching staff produced the most quality starts (108) in baseball while setting a new team record for strikeouts (1,428) in a season.

“If you look at the numbers, they probably have the best rotation,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

But the A’s fared well against the Tigers’ arms in August, winning three of four games in Detroit.

The A’s scored four runs off Sanchez, five off Verlander, five off Scherzer and seven off Game 4 starter Doug Fister. Over four games, the Tigers’ rotation produced a 8.55 ERA.

“The knock against our offense last year was that we always struggled against really good starters. We could beat two, three and four guys, but when we’d get an ace we would get shut down,” first baseman Brandon Moss. “To be able to have success against those guys and get on roll like we did, really did a lot for our confidence.”

Melvin said his rotation is capable of toeing the rubber with any staff in the league.

“We don’t really look at it as a five-game snap shot, we look more at who’s matched up on a particular day, ” he said. “And I like our chances every day.”

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Paul Gackle

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