Make no mistake; this is the defining road trip of the season for the A's. Starting today, the A's will play the next 10 games against honest-to-goodness contenders. Two of those teams, the Rangers and Yankees, are basically sure locks for the postseason. The Tigers, despite losing to the White Sox yesterday, are still there in the thick of things. What's more, the pitching assignments for the Tigers' would make any fan weep: Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Sure, the A's have no slouches of their own to face them in A.J. Griffin and Brett Anderson, but these first two games promise to be two of the marquee pitching matchups of the week.
I also wanted to link to a good article about "rational rooting" that Nick Piecoro put up on Baseball Prospectus this morning. It's a free article, and it talks of the unpredictability of baseball and how some teams do everything right, but still have no success. Other teams, like our most recent opponents, seem to have a crazy bit of luck on their side.
Where do you think the A's fit in there? Piecoro seems to lump the A's into the lucky category. Yes, the A's do have a 115 wRC+ with RISP, a great bullpen, and have won many close games and have had many walk-offs. The A's also have 17.6 WAR from their pitching (5th in the AL per FanGraphs) and 19 WAR from position players, both considerably ahead of the Orioles. A lot of things have gone the A's way, but isn't that true of all playoff teams?
Feel free to link up to any other article you found this morning. A game thread will show up around 3:30 for your blogging pleasure.