The Final Week: When You "Pull Out All The Stops"

You know how on the day before the All-Star Break, or Game 7 of the Championship Series, suddenly starting pitchers are available out of the pen on their "day to throw in the bullpen"? We've reached that point in the regular season, as the A's, among other teams, view every game as "must-wins" -- and well they should. I'm not suggesting the A's should do any of the following, just that they could...

Let's say Dan Straily and the A's have the good fortune to lead pretty comfortably after 4 innings today. The A's could pull Straily and start him Tuesday instead of Travis Blackley. Tuesday would be Straily's "bullpen day" and if he doesn't throw too many pitches today he could probably give the A's at least a 5 inning start on Tuesday.

In the Texas series, with the A's likely needing a sweep to catch the Rangers, they could add a "plus reliever" by throwing Straily for an inning of short relief Monday or possibly Tommy Milone in relief on Tuesday (Milone's next start after Sunday would be a one-game playoff Friday if the A's settle for, and capture, a WC spot).

If the A's were to win Monday's game against Texas without having to use any of their "plus relievers," they could conceivably use Blevins, Cook, Doolittle, and Balfour for as many as 7 innings in lieu of a "starting pitcher" (who could be Blackley on a short leash or Evan Scribner for a "2 inning start").

If the A's need a long reliever before Tuesday, they could go to Blackley (meaning they would need to use one of the creative options mentioned above).

How would you play it?

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