Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/7/12
The bad news for the Oakland A's on Saturday: They had to face Justin Verlander. The good news for the A's: They won't face the Detroit Tigers ace again until Game 5 of the AL Division Series, if the series goes the distance. Oakland faces three more right-handed starters, however, meaning that Jonny Gomes, the team's leader and one of its sparkplugs, might not get a start in the series. Manager Bob Melvin said that he might get Gomes a start, anyway, though Gomes is in a left-right platoon at designated hitter with Seth Smith. Smith went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts Saturday, and Verlander struck out 11 in seven innings, leading the Tigers to a 3-1 victory in Game 1. The strikeout total will faze the A's not at all: They set an American League record for strikeouts this season. Coco Crisp provided Oakland's only run with a leadoff homer. Crisp is likely to be a big key in this series. He was bothered by an eye infection when the A's played in Detroit in late September, and Oakland dropped two of three. He is a lifetime .346 hitter against Verlander. One major development for Oakland on Saturday: Reliever Pat Neshek, the team's top righty-righty specialist, retired both batters he faced, working just three days after the death of his newborn son, Gehrig John. Neshek is a key member of the bullpen, and manager Bob Melvin said he wanted to get him into a game as soon as possible. Despite enormous emotion -- he tapped his son's initials on his sleeve as he left the mound -- Neshek handled his duties extremely well.
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