As the A’s limp into a much needed off day after being swept by the Angels, the big test that will surely shape their playoff outlook lies ahead. 17 of Oakland’s next 20 games are on the road, all but three of which against playoff contenders.
To have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs, the A’s must be road warriors and win a few series during the coming weeks. Playing .500 baseball will not be good enough, as Oakland is in a barrage with four other teams fighting for the final two two wild card positions. Only four games separate Oakland and the Orioles, Rays, Angels, and White Sox.
“The schedule is the schedule… there’s nothing we can do about that.” Claims Bob Melvin. “We’ve done well on the road at times, and we’re gonna have to do it again.”
The three game series against the non-playoff contending team starts Friday, with the A’s attempting to get back into the win column against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners. Don’t overlook the division cellar dwellers, they have gone 13-7 in their last 20 games.
If Oakland is going to break their slump, they will have to do it against a team that has been a thorn in their side all season. The A’s go into the series just 6-7 vs. Seattle on the year, and will face its top three starting pitchers.
In 61 degree weather the A’s bat’s were ice cold Wednesday in Oakland, totaling just four hits against Danny Haren and the Angel bullpen in a 7-1 loss. Los Angeles outscored Oakland 21-5 in the series, and the A’s never had a lead. The key thing that Oakland MUST improve upon to have a chance at winning is hitting with runners in scoring position. During their 3 game set, the A’s were just 2-16 (.125 avg.) with RISP.
In a scary moment during the fourth inning A’s starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck in the side of the head by a line drive off the bat of Erick Aybar. The deflection made a horrific sound, almost like the ball hitting the bat twice. The Coliseum crowd of 15, 404 went silent for an extended period of time before erupting in applause as McCarthy walked off the field under his own strength. According to the official Athletics report, McCarthy did not lose consciousness and was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons.
“It might be a good time to [hit the road] with the off day and go somewhere else and try and get away from these three games,” Melvin stated after the game.