Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Baseball isn't played on paper, but on paper the A's have the matchup tonight: Jarrod Parker vs. Martin Perez, whom the A's knocked out after 2/3 of an inning last week. But further aiding the A's tonight is that Rangers' closer Joe Nathan threw in both games of yesterday's double-header: 28 pitches in the opener followed by 14 more in the nightcap. It's not that I "expect" the A's to win tonight, but if they ever had the edge it's going to be in game 1 of this "gotta sweep" series.
Then there's Wednesday's game: A.J. Griffin vs. Ryan Dempster. If the A's can manage to win Monday and Tuesday, the pressure clearly shifts onto Texas and suddenly, it's 2000 all over again. A.J. Griffin is the A's Tim Hudson, a guy small in stature but with a "Welcome to me" attitude that makes him a great "big game" candidate. If the A's get to a "winner take all" showdown on Wednesday, I see the A's winning it.
This brings us to Tuesday night. That's the night everything is set up Texas' way. The A's are throwing their own Martin Perez, Travis Blackley, who lasted just an inning in Texas following his 2 inning suckfest at Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile the Rangers go with 17-game winner Matt Harrison, with Nathan rested.
Best case scenario? The A's not only win tonight, but they are able to do it without having to use their "plus" relievers (who include Balfour and Cook, each of whom has pitched 2 days in a row). Then perhaps even if Blackley struggles, the A's can get by with a little Scribner, a little Blevins, and up to 2 innings each, as needed, from the trifecta of Doolittle, Cook, and Balfour. In theory, the A's could practically get 9 innings from that group, and if the division comes down to Tuesday's game -- as I think it very well could -- I say get as many innings as you need from Scriblevlitookfour.
Not that I'm looking past Monday or taking anything for granted Wednesday. But get me a win, somehow, on Tuesday and I think the A's can do this.