OAKLAND — The A's have restructured their starting rotation for the American League Division Series against Detroit, dropping an ailing A.J. Griffin and going with Bartolo Colon and Sonny Gray in the first two games against the Tigers in the Coliseum Friday and Saturday.
Oakland will come back in Detroit with Jarrod Parker and Dan Straily, then will have Colon, the veteran, ready to pitch in Game 5, if needed.
Griffin's removal from this round of the playoffs was a surprise, given that he'd won four of his last five decisions. But the manager said the right-hander had been doing that while battling through what manager Bob Melvin described at ``mild elbow tendinitis.''
Colon gives the A's a veteran presence in the rotation that the club didn't have when facing the Tigers in Detroit to start the ALDS last year. He'd been with the A's for most of the 2012 season, but was out on a performance-enhancing drug suspension for the post-season.
He came back to win 18 games and finish second in the league with a 2.65 ERA.
Gray, the rookie who pitched the clincher a week ago Sunday in Oakland, has much better numbers at home (3-1, 1.99) as opposed to the road (2-2, 3.86). Melvin didn't cite the home/road differential as the reason for going with him, however.
Parker was beaten up for eight runs in 3.1 innings by the Tigers in April, which was a rotten month for him. He's come back since the end of May to go 10-2 down the stretch and at one point was unbeaten for 19 consecutive starts
Straily came on strong as well, going 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his final six starts.