DETROIT — The last time Oakland Game 4 starter Dan Straily pitched in Comerica Park, he got the win and allowed only one run.
But it was a game when the A's scored 14 runs on his behalf, so for the second half of his six innings of work he was able to just throw the ball and challenge the Tigers to hit it.
``It was one of those bend-but-don't-break kind of outings,'' Straily said. ``It was good to get here in the ballpark and pitch before the game that really matters.''
That would be Tuesday's game when he starts against Detroit's Doug Fister.
Fister has pitched on a national stage before with the Tigers in the postseason for the third consecutive season and the right-hander having been a part of each of those runs. Straily, on the other hand, is scarcely known outside of Oakland after going 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA.
``Just because everyone hasn't heard of us doesn't mean that we don't belong here,'' Straily said, ``or that we aren't good enough to be here. We (starting pitchers) all know what we can do individually and accomplish as a group as well.''
A's pitching coach Curt Young, talking before Monday's game, said Straily may be unknown, but he's anything but unqualified.
``To me, you don't really know what a guy is capable of until he's gotten 20, 25, 30 starts in his career,'' Young said. ``He's done that (34 starts, 27 this year) and now we as a team know what he can do and are comfortably knowing what we can expect from him in any start.''
And Young's expectations are high. Straily comes into the game with a 2.00 ERA in his last six starts, the first of which was the six-inning, eight-hit, one-run game he threw in Comerica Park on Aug. 28. Torii Hunter homered in the third inning with Oakland holding a 3-0 lead, and that was it for the Tigers offense, which five men on against Straily with the help of the A's defensive turning two double plays.
``He has a swing-and-miss slider,'' Young said of Straily. ``It's a pitch he'll throw to right-handers and left-handers. So if he can command his fastball, that makes the slider a great pitch for him.''
Most pitchers who throw sliders tend to throw them to right-handers or left-handers, but not to both. Young said Straily's pitch is one of the best around.
``It is that special of a pitch,'' Young said. ``He can backdoor it early in the count and use it for an out pitch later in the count. It's special.''