DETROIT -- All seems wrong in the A's world suddenly, and on Wednesday night they were dealt a blow beyond their third straight loss.
Left-hander Brett Anderson, the only non-rookie in Oakland's rotation, suffered a strained right oblique and exited in the third inning of a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
He went for an MRI at a hospital after the game, and his timetable for recovery wasn't immediately known. But oblique strains sometimes can sideline players for several weeks.
"In the second inning I felt it a little in the dugout, I thought it might be a cramp or something," said Anderson, who didn't have the results of the MRI. "I went out there for the third, and it kind of got progressively worse and worse. I tried to pitch through it, but at that point you're not going to do anybody any good to try and pitch through it and suck at the same time.
"It's pretty disheartening the way I've been throwing. To come back after surgery and six starts into it, have some other kind of fluke injury that I don't really know how it happened. ... It wasn't like it was a one-pitch deal."
Given the A's have just 14 games left in the regular season, Anderson's injury could be a very costly blow as they try to secure their first postseason appearance since 2006.
"We just have to get through it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We've got some injured guys, with Coco (Crisp) out and potentially Brett out. Some other guys are going to
The A's will insert long man Travis Blackley to pitch Saturday at Yankee Stadium, with rookie Dan Straily being pushed back to start in Anderson's slot Monday at Texas, assuming Anderson can't go.
Melvin said it was decided even before Anderson's injury to have Blackley pitch against New York because "matchup-wise it was the right thing to do."
The A's (84-64) have withstood the loss of veteran starters Bartolo Colon and Brandon McCarthy. But how many hits can they take to their rotation? Anderson was 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA in six starts since coming back from reconstructive elbow surgery.
"It's not someone you can just go and replace," Blackley said. "So everyone's going to have to pick up the slack and do what we can to keep ship moving. We've had some rough ones with Mac and Bart, but it seems like guys have stepped up and done the job in their stead."
Things have malfunctioned on all fronts for the A's so far in Detroit, as they've been outscored 18-4 in the first two games of this 10-game, three-city road trip. They also aren't playing with the swagger of a team that's 20 games above .500.
The A's couldn't get anything going against Detroit starter Justin Verlander (15-8), who shut them out over six innings.
Detroit broke a scoreless tie with a three-run third. Two runs were in against Anderson and he had the bases loaded when he lost his balance and fell to the side after a 2-1 pitch to Delmon Young.
Anderson didn't appear to be in pain, but after a brief discussion with Melvin and the training staff, he headed for the dugout.
Pat Neshek relieved him and allowed Young's sacrifice fly to end the at-bat and put the Tigers ahead 3-0.
"I saw him slip off the mound," A's catcher Derek Norris said. "He kind of made a little cringe face like something was bothering him."
Colon missed two weeks with a strained right oblique (or side muscle) in June. But to cite another example, former A's starter Tim Hudson missed six weeks with a severe oblique strain in 2004.
A.L. Wild-card race
W L Pct. GB
Baltimore 85 64 .570 --
A's 84 64 .568 --
L.A. Angels 81 68 .544 31/2
Detroit 79 69 .534 5
Tampa Bay 79 70 .530 51/2
Note: Top two teams earn wild-card berths.
11 Combination of A's wins and Angels losses to clinch A.L. wild card spot.