Well, I guess when you lose, you should probably lose big, and keep the suckage to a single game, unless; of course, that game happens to be the looming one-game Wild Card playoff. But last night, the A's did absolutely everything wrong, in every facet of the game, and were pounded by the Tigers; yet if they can pull it together today, they will still be in good shape. Hopefully, they can shake off the loss, along with Sunday's loss and regroup tonight facing the elite Verlander. Despite the tough schedule, the A's have to minimize losing streaks; as the lead team, they just have to win half.
So where do things stand this morning? No love from Seattle last night (I turned the game off at midnight and they still played 4 more innings); the Orioles rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the 9th inning to win in 4-2 in the 18th to take another game from the A's lead. (The two teams repeat the contest tonight at 7:10PM.) The A's are now only a slim half game up on the Orioles and the Yankees; disappointing to be sure. But all three of those teams could make the playoffs; the real threat comes from the Angels, who are only 3.5 games back after their drubbing of Texas last night. I have mixed feelings there. Of course I want the Rangers to win this series; it's our best chance at making the playoffs, but I know that the Angels can chip away at the Rangers' lead, which would help the A's should they play well enough to compete for the Division. On the other hand, the A's will have to take the majority of the games from the Rangers to even challenge for the best record in the AL, so it really doesn't matter. In order for the A's to make the playoffs, the Angels need to be buried. Go Rangers! (The Rangers play the Angels again tonight at 7:05PM.)
Detroit is still in desperation mode, needing to make up 5.5 games to be in the chase for the second Wild Card, so they aren't going away. The A's need to come up with a strong game, and they have seven hours to prepare. The game thread will go up at 3:30PM as the A's need as much support as possible to take down the Tigers tonight.
So what does happen in Oakland if the A's can hang on? (And believe me, the playoffs do NOT feel like a foregone conclusion; not at all.) The tie-breaking games take place on October 4th, where ties would be settled for the Division, and the second Wild Card, if there is a tie in that slot. If there is a tie for the first Wild Card, home-field advantage would result from the head-to-head record. The A's have won all of those scenarios except for the Tigers. On October 5th, both the AL Wild Card playoff game and the NL Wild Card playoff game will take place, at the home of the first Wild Card team.
The actual playoff series start on Saturday, Oct. 6th. If the A's win the Wild Card, they play the #1 seed (regardless of Division, so it would be Texas today) at home for the first two games. The next three games are on the road. Same with seeds #2 and #3, who play on Sunday the 7th.
Does anyone have playoff tickets? Wild Card game tickets? How are we feeling about the A's chances, staring down the barrel of a 2-game losing streak with Verlander on the mound tonight? The A's can ill-afford any errors or lapses tonight, but for people who aren't so emotionally invested, it should be a great game. Brett Anderson vs. Justin Verlander tonight at 4:05PM. We'll see you back here with all the action.
LET'S GO OAK-LAND!