The A’s are finally back home after a grueling stretch of playing 17 of 20 on the road. They played well enough over that stretch to remain two games up on the Angels and Rays for the final wild card spot.
So the A’s can finally take a breathe…
Alright, break over. Wasn’t that nice?
The A’s may be in position to make their first playoff appearance since 2006, but with six games left they still need to take care of business and there is no time to let up off the gas. The A’s are fortunate enough to control their own playoff destiny, but the red hot Angels and Rays are right on their tail making every game the rest of the way vital.
The Angels have won five of their last six and the Rays are one of the hottest teams in baseball riding an eight game win streak. Both teams have Oakland right in their cross hairs and as we all learned at the end of last season, the difference between making it to the playoffs and not can come down to the last pitch of the season.
That being said, it is always better to be the team leading this time of year, and Oakland’s magic number is down to five to clinch a wild card spot. But if Oakland is going to make it, the rookie starting pitchers are going to have to maintain the surprising level of excellence they’ve pitched at all season long.
The first of those young starters pitching will be former shoes salesman A.J. Griffin (6-1, 2.80) who will be taking on Blake Beavan (10-10, 4.64) and the Seattle Mariners tonight in the first of a three game series. Griffin has struggled in his last two outings after being flawless in his first eleven. His ERA has bounced from 1.94 up to 2.80 over the last two starts but he will look to regain his old form tonight against one of the worst offenses in the league.
Back just in time to start the home stand is center fielder Coco Crisp. Crisp hasn’t been able to bat since September 18th due to a case of pink eye. Crisp will be back tonight batting lead off.
The A’s will sure to be scoreboard watching tonight, as the Angels start up a three game set at Texas and the Rays go up against the White Sox in the second of a four game series.