Two pitchers who have struggled in different ways this season go head-to-head Friday night when the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics duel for the second time in their four-game series in Northern California.
The A’s benefited from 12 walks, including two with the bases loaded in a four-run sixth inning, in an 8-4 victory in the series opener.
Oakland will start right-hander Frankie Montas (1-1, 8.31 ERA), in search of his second win in the rematch, with Detroit scheduled to oppose him with righty Jose Urena (0-2, 8.22).
Urena has had issues with walks in his first two starts for the Tigers. He has issued nine free passes in just 7 2/3 innings in games against Minnesota and Cleveland.
The 29-year-old continues in search of his first win since June 1, 2019, at San Diego when he was a member of the Miami Marlins. He went 0-3 for Miami last season.
Urena figures to encounter a patient A’s lineup, one that added eight hits to the 12 walks in Thursday’s win.
Matt Chapman had Oakland’s only hit of its four-run sixth, but it was a big one — a bases-loaded double that drove in two runs to extend the lead to 6-2.
“That’s kinda what we do: We make you work and make you work and make you work,” A’s manager Bob Melvin noted afterward. “Obviously, we walked quite a bit, which is taxing. And then you come up with a big hit or two, and the next thing you know we come up with a big inning.
“We hit some homers; we draw some walks. Keep putting pressure on you. And then we get some big hits. It wasn’t happening before, but now we’re getting big at-bats.”
The A’s were out-hit nine to eight in the series opener, but won the home run battle with two against one for the Tigers. Stephen Piscotty and Matt Olson went deep for Oakland, while Niko Goodrum countered with one for Detroit.
Urena has started and won twice against the A’s in his career, with both wins coming for Miami in 2017. He’s recorded a 5.73 ERA in those two games.
Goodrum had three hits and Willi Castro added two for the Tigers on Thursday. In Game 2, they’ll take their cracks against Montas, who has served up 13 hits, including two homers, in his 8 2/3 innings so far in 2021.
Seven of those hits came in just 2 2/3 innings in a 10-3 home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first week of the season. He gave up six hits in six innings last Saturday in Houston, but limited the damage to one run.
The 28-year-old has gone 2-2 with a 6.86 ERA in five career games (four starts) against the Tigers. Goodrum had a two-run double off him in their last meeting in June 2018.
After going 0-for-4 in a game started by A’s left-hander Sean Manaea, Tigers outfield sensation Akil Baddoo will get his chance to see a righty on Friday.
The left-handed-hitting rookie has owned right-handers so far, going 10-for-25 (.400) with four home runs and 11 RBIs.
“Akil’s in the middle of everything,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch gushed before the series. “His first few games have been about as active as you can get when you’re getting introduced to the big leagues.”
–Field Level Media