OAK@DET Gm3: Parker throws five solid frames

OAKLAND -- The A's ability to get four scoreless innings from their bullpen on Monday temporarily masked any worry over starter Jarrod Parker's early departure in the game.

But there is some concern after the 24-year-old right-hander was only able to throw 73 pitches through five innings before exiting the 6-3 Game 3 victory.

"It just didn't look to me like it was his very best stuff from the very beginning," manager Bob Melvin said on Tuesday. "You can tell from the side that the ball wasn't coming out of his hand like it normally does and creating that late movement he has.

ALDS
"I think he was just a little run down. He kept us in the game and got a win, but all things considered, he didn't look 100 percent right, and I had a conversation with him after the fifth and he wasn't in total disagreement that it was time for him to come out."

The A's will wait to see how Parker responds in the next couple of days and how he feels physically to determine whether he'll be able to stay on track for a start in the American League Championship Series, should Oakland advance. If rest proves to be the best route to take, Oakland has other starting options in lefties Brett Anderson and Tommy Milone, and possibly right-hander A.J. Griffin, who is on the mend from right elbow tendinitis.

Either way, Melvin is hopeful the issue with Parker proves to be nothing more than fatigue. Parker pitched at least eight innings in three of his six August starts, before struggling some in September. He finished the season at 197 innings.

"It could be a dead arm or a period where he's getting a little bit tired potentially," said Melvin. "He battled out there. Maybe not his best velocity at times, maybe the late movement he creates wasn't there, but you take him out after five, you get what you need, but maybe just not as long as you normally expect out of him."

A's put Balfour incident behind them

OAK@DET Gm4: Reddick discusses Balfour's intensity

DETROIT -- Following Grant Balfour's ninth-inning run-in with Detroit's Victor Martinez in Oakland's 6-3 Game 3 victory in the American League Division Series on Monday, A's manager Bob Melvin didn't feel the need to speak with his veteran closer about the benches-clearing incident.

"I only had a brief conversation with him in the training room after the game, just about what transpired," Melvin said Tuesday in advance of Game 4, "but nothing more.

"I've probably had a couple conversations with Balfour over the years. Now, you also understand that's how he gets himself motivated and it's just kind of who he is. He's certainly not talking to a player. He's talking to himself, and I think, at times, the opposing player can certainly think he is talking to him. Yesterday was probably a little different. It's not like this is the first time he's done it, and he's been that way even before he came to us. You do have some conversations from time to time about how things look and what the perception is."

The drama began when Martinez fouled off a 1-2 pitch from Balfour and intently stared down the Australian closer, who said he then told the Tigers' designated hitter, "Hey, man, you want to stare me down like that and you've got a problem, then come on out."

Martinez did, words were exchanged, and benches emptied.

"You would think maybe more after a pitch that brushed somebody, but it surprised everyone in that it transpired in the way it did," said Melvin. "Again, he's just trying to fire himself up, and a little misunderstanding. There's a little bit more drama, just the way things are, in the postseason, so it's maybe quicker to get out of hand that way."

"We've all seen Balfour when he pitches," said Josh Reddick. "He's yelling at baseballs, blades of grass, the mound, who knows. I think it was the heat of the moment, and Victor took it the wrong way. Balfour doesn't like to get stared down and he pretty much wins the staring contest 100 percent of the time, and he didn't appreciate it.

"But I don't see it carrying over when a team is on the verge of elimination. I highly doubt they're going to hit somebody to put him on. I know we're not going to do that to give them a chance to come back."

A's won't turn to Colon on short rest

DET@OAK Gm1: Colon fans four over six solid innings

DETROIT -- Though Tigers manager Jim Leyland expects to have Max Scherzer available out of the bullpen for an elimination Game 4 on Tuesday in Detroit, A's manager Bob Melvin has ruled out the possibility of utilizing his Game 1 starter in the contest.

Asked if Bartolo Colon, who lost to Scherzer in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday, is an option for him Tuesday, Melvin answered, "Not today."

"In the bullpen, everyone is available today," he continued, "so I don't think that dynamic is there for us in this game."

That's not to say Melvin, whose club holds a 2-1 series advantage, is without a proven option should starter Dan Straily struggle to get through enough innings. Lefty Brett Anderson, who started Game 3 of the ALDS last year, remains available out of the bullpen.

"That's kind of the wild card," said Melvin. "He can give you length. He's been a starter and he gets righties and lefties out, and I think similar in the Scherzer situation for them, he does give us that dynamic. He certainly could give you three or three-plus."