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Jarrod Parker Proved A's Rookies Are Up to the Challenge

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 06:  Jarrod Parker #11 of the Oakland Athletics throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during Game One of the American League Divisional Series at Comerica Park on October 6, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Clarence Baldwin JrAnalyst IOctober 10, 2016

The bottom line of Game One in Detroit: Justin Verlander continued his dominance of the A's offense.

The Tigers won 3-1, largely on Verlander's powerful right arm. But in a series that could very well be a matter of Oakland needing to win the three games he doesn't start, there was a positive to take away—the poise of rookie starter Jarrod Parker.

The overall line won't blow you away: 6 1/3 innings, seven hits, three runs (two earned) with a walk and five strikeouts. But it was not the numbers as much as how well Parker managed to limit Detroit that gives Oakland hope for tomorrow's matinee.

Early on, the Tigers had a chance at a big inning. First and third with no one out and the Triple Crown winning Miguel Cabrera at the plate. Yet Parker promptly induced a double play to limit the damage. Though he rarely had a clean inning (only going 1-2-3 in the second and sixth innings), Parker made high quality pitches time and time again. 

And with a big assist from the inspirational Pat Neshek, the A's very nearly kept themselves in the game long enough. In the bottom of the eighth, Brandon Moss hit a moonshot that off his bat seemed like it may have tied the game. Instead, the ball died at the base of the right field wall and the A's best chance was gone.

So give credit where credit is due. The Tigers held their home field, powered by their ace, a potential back-to-back Cy Young Award winner. And yet, the A's where close to tying the game late.

Now the onus shifts to Tom Milone, who has not performed well on the road this season. His last start in Detroit was a poor outing, taking the loss while allowing three runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.

For the A's, the hope is that Milone can look more like the guy who kept Texas at bay in his last road start (September 25th). Better yet, the pitcher who beat Detroit on May 11th, going seven strong innings.

It's the biggest start of the year, but today's effort showed it won't be about the A's youth as much as their ability to simply execute. 

Tomorrow is another gut check for the Oakland A's. Something tells me they will respond once again.

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