OAKLAND -- Prior to this year, the A's started just two rookies in 147 postseason games. By night's end, they'll have used three in one series.
Righty A.J. Griffin, who started Game 4 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday following starts by fellow rookies Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone, as well as lefty Brett Anderson, became the third rookie pitcher to start a game in this series, making the A's the first team in history to start as many rookies.
Moreover, with relievers Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle having already seen action against the Tigers, Griffin also becomes the fifth rookie to pitch for the A's in this series. Only one other team, the 1944 Cardinals, had used five different rookie pitchers in one postseason.
"I wasn't aware that there was nobody else that has had three rookie pitchers," manager Bob Melvin said, "but we've been dealing with that all year. We've had a number of rookie pitchers here, whether it's in the rotation or bullpen, that we count on very heavily. Feather in their hat that they're able to handle it."
Parker and Milone, who together totaled 26 wins during the regular season, combined to allow just four earned runs over 12 1/3 innings in two losses over the weekend in Detroit, before Anderson's gutty six-inning scoreless performance on Tuesday.
"We're a young staff and we try to bounce as many things off of each other as we can," Parker said. "And we try to learn from each other and try to do as much as we can to learn and take the knowledge that we have out on the mound. One guy throws a game and does something, I'm going to ask him what he's doing to get this guy out, and vice versa.
"There's been times this year where we've tried to one up each other, and it's made for a competitive but solid relationship for all of us."
The only other times the A's have thrown rookies out onto the mound for a postseason start were in 1913, when Joe Bush made a start in the World Series, and most recently, in 2000, when Barry Zito drew a start in the ALDS.
Bullpen in 'good shape' heading into Game 4
OAKLAND -- Engaging in yet another win-or-else game against the Tigers on Wednesday, the A's weren't planning on saving any bullets -- aside from maybe one.
With righty Jarrod Parker slated for a potential Game 5 on Thursday, manager Bob Melvin said he "wouldn't forecast" using the rookie in Wednesday's Game 4 of the American League Division Series, no matter the progression of the game.
In the event starter A.J. Griffin is pulled early, expect the A's to rely on the likes of lefty Travis Blackley and right-hander Evan Scribner, who saved the club last week with three scoreless relief innings against the Rangers in the de facto AL West title game.
"Our bullpen's in pretty good shape," Melvin said. "Scribner has done a nice job for us coming in and shutting some guys down at a time and moving on farther in the game. Travis Blackley is a true length guy for us. I think we're in pretty good shape."
Lefty Jerry Blevins and righty Pat Neshek haven't pitched since Saturday. The A's should also have the late-inning go-to trio of Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour on hand, given their efficient work in Tuesday's contest.