It’s a do-or-die playoff game and that means Don Kelly’s in left, y’all!!!!
Oakland makes the logical move and throws Sonny Gray at the Tigers again. We can only hope that seeing him a second time will work to Detroit’s advantage.
Meanwhile, Jhonny Peralta makes the start at shortstop and Don Kelly gets the nod in left field. We knew Peralta would play, and it’s not a huge surprise to see him at short here, as Jose Iglesias had offered less than nothing at the plate during the series and Justin Verlander is a fly ball/strikeout pitcher. That said, it is a bit surprising to see Don Kelly instead of Andy Dirks in left, though Kelly also started game two (and got two hits off Gray). Otherwise, the Tigers are virtually unchanged, and the performances of their top two hitters may well go a long way in deciding who wins this thing tonight.
For Oakland, Eric Sogard is finally benched in favor of Alberto Callaspo in a move that, from Oakland’s perspective, probably comes about three games later than it should have. Brandon Moss gets dropped in the lineup, as do Josh Reddick and Stephen Vogt, and Yoenis Cespedes and Seth Smith slide up to 4 and 5.
Bartolo Colon is available out of the bullpen for Oakland. Jim Leyland has, at least publicly, ruled out using Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez in relief. Scherzer threw 47 pitches two days ago and Sanchez would be the only starter on full rest Saturday night if the Tigers can win tonight.