It may feel like summer with this hot weather, but this is October baseball at its finest.
This is it A’s fans. This is the biggest of the big series. Division leader Texas comes to Oakland for the final series of the year with a division title on the line.
The playoff scenarios run down like this: The A’s can clinch a playoff spot with a victory tonight or a Tampa Bay and Anaheim loss. The A’s can win the A.L. West if they sweep and win all three games in the series. Texas can win the division with a win in any of the next three days.
In a most unlikely scenario, the A’s and Rangers can both clinch tonight. If the Rangers win and the Angels and Rays lose, both teams will be uncorking the champagne in Oakland tonight.
Who would’ve thought on June 30th, with the A’s sitting in the cellar 13 games behind the Rangers that the A’s would have a shot at the division on the last series of the year. Heck, who thought this series would be anything more than a Texas tune up before they moved onto the playoffs while the A’s spent the post season at home.
But here we are. Two games back with three games to go. But true to form, manager Bob Melvin is only thinking about today.
“We know if we win today, we get to the postseason. So our main concern is winning today.”
And any thoughts about winning the division were put onto the back burner. “Were not looking at a sweep. We are looking at a win today and we will deal with tomorrow tomorrow.”
And tonight couldn’t be a better match up for the Athletics. Jarrod Parker, dare we say the ace of this staff, will be taking the mound tonight. Parker has owned the Rangers this year going 2-0 with a minuscule 1.93 ERA. Not only that, but Parker is on a three game winning streak and is pitching his best baseball of the year.
On the other side of the mound the Rangers will put out rookie Martin Perez. Perez (1-3, 5.03 ERA) was lit up big time against the A’s in his last outing, not even making it out of the first inning.
So the stage is set and the curtains are ready to be drawn for the most meaningful series in Oakland since 2006. And while excitement is buzzing all around the stadium and across the entire Bay Area, Melvin says the feeling in the clubhouse is the same as always:
“We try to keep it pretty simple…It’s been a good feeling here for the last month and I don’t think its any different today.”