Teammate pumps up Tigers starter for outing against A's

DETROIT -- Matthew Boyd's near no-hitter gives Detroit Tigers teammate Chad Bell inspiration for his start on Tuesday against the Oakland A's at Comerica Park.

Bell has struggled since joining the Detroit rotation in September. He has allowed 13 runs in 12 innings in three starts this month, and he lasted just 3 1/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, surrendering six runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Watching Boyd mow down the White Sox on Sunday lifted Bell's spirits. Boyd was one out from a no-hitter before Tim Anderson smacked a double.

"It fires us up," Bell said Monday. "It was a great performance, really fun to watch. He located his pitches to all parts of the plate, he was throwing strikes with everything. He was just attacking 'em.

"It's something we can all build on. There's always something you can learn from watching the other four guys (in the rotation) throw."

Bell (0-3, 6.42 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the A's, but they won't be total strangers.

"Being in the Texas Rangers' organization coming up, there are quite a few guys I've faced a lot in Double-A and Triple-A," he said. "That's been two or three years ago, so a lot has probably changed, but at least there are probably some names and faces I'm familiar with. Plus, with all the information you get today, there's scouting reports on everything."

Bell took some positives out of his last outing. The left-hander threw more strikes early in the count. However, he had trouble locating his bread-and-butter pitch, his changeup.

"I don't evaluate the line as being a good stat line, absolutely, but as I'm watching film of the game, I put myself in good situations to succeed," he said. "I felt like I got in a lot of 1-2 counts where I was ahead, it's just about executing pitches late in the count to put 'em away.

"I felt there was some game plan stuff I could have done better, but I put myself in good positions to succeed. I just didn't finish them off in those situations."

Daniel Gossett (4-9, 5.02 ERA) will oppose Bell. The right-hander has shown improvement against two of the majors' best offensive teams in his most recent outings.

Gossett held the Houston Astros to one run on six hits and struck out seven on Sept. 9 for his fourth victory, then allowed three runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings at Boston on Thursday.

"He seems to be a bit more comfortable on the mound," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We've seen him have a good game and then a bad game, but he seems to be getting a little more confident now. He's starting to put a couple of outings together where he's pitched well. That leads to a little confidence, and that's why you see him pitching a little better at this point."

Gossett, who was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 23, has never faced the Tigers.

"When he's struggled some, he's been behind in counts and having to throw fastballs in some tough counts, and (he's) finding out in the big leagues, it's difficult to do that," Melvin said. "He has to be a little unpredictable with his pitches and get ahead and be able to use all of them."

Oakland won the series opener 8-3 on Monday. A's first baseman Matt Olson, who blasted a two-run shot, will try to extend his homer streak to five consecutive games. Olson has seven home runs in his past nine games.
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