|6:07 PM PT7:07 PM MT8:07 PM CT9:07 PM ET21:07 ET1:07 GMT9:07 6:07 PM MST8:07 PM EST8:37 PM VEN5:07 UAE (+1)8:07 PM CT, September 7, 2019
Ring Central Coliseum, Oakland, California Attendance: 32,623
Oakland's Bassitt makes return to face Detroit
Two right-handers who have pitched well of late, though only one has wins to show for it, go head-to-head Saturday night when the visiting Detroit Tigers look to take two in a row from the Oakland Athletics.
The contest comes one day after the teams split decisions, with the A's completing a suspended game from May with a 7-3 win, before the Tigers worked overtime to claim the regularly scheduled contest 5-4 in 11 innings.
The win was Detroit's first of the season against the A's in five meetings, and followed a loss that was the Tigers' 98th of the year, equaling the club's total in each of the last two seasons.
The Tigers haven't lost 100 games since 2003.
Chris Bassitt (9-5, 3.67 ERA) returns from paternity leave to start for the A's (82-59), who begin the weekend one game behind Tampa Bay (84-59) for the top American League wild-card slot and just a half-game ahead of Cleveland (82-60) for the second spot.
The 30-year-old was the beneficiary of a 17-run attack when he threw eight shutout innings in a 17-3 win at Detroit in May. That raised his lifetime record against the Tigers in five starts to 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA.
Bassitt has gone 2-0 in his last six starts, compiling an impressive 2.55 ERA.
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann (1-9, 6.03) has an even better ERA over his last four starts (2.45), but has just an 0-1 record to show for it.
He's never won at Oakland in his career, going 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts, but has pitched effectively overall against the A's (1-1 with a 2.66 ERA in four starts).
Zimmermann admitted to reporters Friday that he's grasping at straws in an effort to shake his spell of bad luck this season.
"This game is all about confidence, and when you're beaten down to your lowest level, you're willing to try anything," he noted. "I figured it can't get any worse than what I've been doing."
Meanwhile, things are going so well for the Oakland pitching staff that manager Bob Melvin gave Bassitt an extra day off to celebrate the birth of his first child, a daughter.
At the same time, Melvin announced his club would be moving forward with a six-man rotation, interjecting left-hander Sean Manaea into the lineup on Sunday while pushing Mike Fiers back to Monday.
"Fluid I think is the word we use these days," Melvin boasted to reporters before Friday's game. "At this point, during this stretch that we have, it's going to look more like a six than a five."
The A's began a stretch of 16 days without a day off Tuesday.
"Most of these guys have been making their starts all year," Melvin noted. "Any time, this time of the season, that you can give some rest and not jeopardize performance, I think it's the right thing to do."
--Field Level Media
Updated September 7, 2019