Today is going to tell us a LOT. With the Rangers and Angels playing a day/night double-header, and the A's entering play 2.5 up on LAA, 2.5 back of TEX, consider this... - The A's could finish the day just 1 game out of 1st place, thus needing to win "3 out of 4" (including a one-game playoff) in order to win the division. - The A's could finish the day 4 games out of 1st place, with Texas having clinched the AL West. - The A's could finish the day just 1 game up on LAA, facing a very real possibility of missing the playoffs entirely. - The A's could finish the day 4 games up on LAA, having clinched a post-season berth. Holy Cow!!!!!!!!!!
Also, keep an eye on today's starting pitchers throughout the American League: Their turns fall on Friday for a possible one-game WC playoff. For the A's, that's Tommy Milone. For the O's, it's Joe Saunders. For the Yankees, it's Philip Hughes. And for the Angels, it's Zack Greinke (clearly the choice over Ervin Santana, also pitching in today's double-header).
One caveat is that if any team clinches before Wednesday, they could hold their Wednesday starter out, but let's face it: It's unlikely that the entire picture is going to be clarified before Wednesday. And who knows which teams might have an extra game to play on Thursday? Including the A's.
Opposing Milone today is another pitcher with an excellent changeup: Erasmo Ramirez, who gave the A's fits at Safeco Field on June 25th to the tune of 8 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K. He also pitched an inning of relief against them on September 7th, striking out 2 in a 1-2-3 inning. Ruh-roh.
Today's starting lineups: