SEATTLE -- The A's now know they will meet the Detroit Tigers for a second consecutive season in the American League Division Series, but this is an Oakland team that has more than its share of issues heading into the postseason.
The A's-Tigers repeat pairing was locked down when Oakland starter Jarrod Parker got hit hard and often in a 7-5 loss to Seattle on Saturday afternoon. It's the second time in his last three starts that Parker has been knocked out before completing five innings, both times giving up seven earned runs.
Between Parker giving up 16 runs in his last three starts and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes out of action once again while dealing with right shoulder tendinitis, the A's have to be more than a little concerned about their status.
But this is a 95-win team, and manager Bob Melvin isn't prone to panic. He's looking forward to seeing the Tigers starting Friday and playing Game 5, if needed, at home instead of in Motown.
"The rematch makes for good fun," Melvin said. "It was a good matchup last year, and it's been good this year."
The A's final surge to the A.L. West title, in fact, began with a four-game series in Detroit. The A's won the first three games Aug. 26-28, then had a three-run lead in the ninth inning, needing only three outs to complete the sweep. They only got two outs, but Melvin said it was probably the best series the A's played all season, and it initiated Oakland's final charge to the top.
"It feels good," third baseman Josh Donaldson said of the rematch with the Tigers. "We feel pretty confident playing there. The last time we played there, it was a great series. We know we have to go up against one of the teams with a pitching staff regarded as one of the best in the major leagues. But we're ready."
It would certainly seem that Brandon Moss is ready. He homered in the seventh inning Saturday as the A's tried to mount a comeback. Oakland got back-to-back homers from Moss and Alberto Callaspo to close to within two runs, then loaded the bases with two out in the eighth before the comeback fizzled.
Moss homered four times in that four-game series in Detroit, and that started him on the rush to 30 homers, a feat he accomplished in just 444 at-bats due to his platoon status. He has nine homers in his last 26 games, only 20 of which were starts.
"Last year, we were unknown to them," Moss said, talking about the series that ended with Detroit winning Game 5 in Comerica Park. "They were unknown to us, because a lot of us didn't start the year here."
Moss went on to point out that the A's beat up on Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer in the August series in Detroit, and that has to help the team looking ahead.
"We've beaten a lot of good pitchers," Moss said. "That's different from last year. We're a little more prepared this year."
Melvin likely will have Bartolo Colon and Parker pitch in Games 1 and 2 in Oakland next Friday and Saturday. Colon is on a hot streak, but Parker has cooled considerably, including giving up three homers Saturday. Melvin refuses to get up in arms.
"I don't care (about the recent results)," Melvin said. "He's had a couple of off games. He was just missing today. Brad Miller (who hit two homers and drove in five runs) was haunting heaters (fastballs) today."
Parker said he feels much the same -- "I didn't get the ball today where I wanted it," he said -- but he's ready for the Tigers.
"It's a whole different ballgame (than the August series)," he said. "But that series did a lot to boost our confidence."
Cespedes' shoulder troubles are a matter of concern to the A's, but they aren't sure how large the problem is just yet. He didn't throw or swing, much less play, on Saturday, and he probably won't on Sunday.
All of which means Parker and Cespedes could be among those most helped by the four-day break before the Tigers come to town.
For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Insider at blogs.ibabuzz.com/athletics.
A's (Sonny Gray 4-3) at
Seattle (James Paxton 2-0)
1:10 p.m. CSNCA
A.L. division series
A's vs. Tigers
Friday: Detroit at Oakland, timeTBD, TBS or MLB
Saturday: Detroit at Oakland, time TBD, TBS
Oct. 7: Oakland at Detroit, time TBD, TBS or MLB
Oct. 8*: Oakland at Detroit, time TBD, TBS
Oct. 10*: Detroit at Oakland, time TBD, TBS
Red Sox vs. Wild Card winner
* -- if necessary