Morning Links: A's, Rangers

Donaldson surveys his prey - Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Some reading to focus your nervous energy before game 2 of this pivotal series.

Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News isn't blaming the umps for this one: Texas is frighteningly bad at home. There are 17 teams with better home records than the Rangers' 39-33. That includes the entire A.L. East besides Toronto. That includes the Washington Nationals. That includes the San Diego Padres.

Alex Rios, however, is blaming the umps. "The Rangers are fighting for the division title or a wild-card spot, and for a call to be missed at that point in the game pushed Rios over the edge. "That particular part of the game, there are a lot of emotions," Rios said. "We're making a comeback. We're fired up. "To have a rally killed like that, it's disappointing."

Blame your pitching staff for giving up 9 runs, dude.

John Hickey compiles some recent small sample stats in his recap of last night's action:

  • The A's power surge continued unabated. Oakland has 52 homers in its past 34 games, the best total in the major leagues over that span.
  • Cespedes has a seven-game streak with at least one RBI. In those games he has 12 RBIs to get his season number up to 74.
  • Donaldson is hitting .457 during a nine-game hitting streak with three homers, six doubles, 10 RBIs and 10 runs.
  • Moss, the team leader with 27 homers, has nine homers and 22 RBIs in his past 22 games.
  • Straily is 4-0 with a 1.90 ERA with veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki catching him the last four times out. During that stretch, opponents are hitting just .181 off Straily.
Hickey was able to talk to Melvin about using Doolittle over Balfour as well. Are we in a closer-by-committee situation?

Susan Slusser got the money quote from Josh Donaldson's dad, Levon, who saw his son play at a sporting event for the first time ever: "He done real good," Levon Donaldson said with a big grin after the game. "There's no telling what I was saying - I was cheering for my boy."

There is a deep backstory to their relationship, if you missed it earlier this year. Here it is, also courtesy of Ms. Slusser:
As a child, Donaldson visited his father in prison and he has not cut him out of his life entirely, though he rarely sees him.

"I hope he's learned," Donaldson said. "He's done his time, and for the most part, most of the males on that side of my family are dead or in jail. I'm definitely not looking for sympathy - the credit goes to my mom and how brave and awesome she is. She's special - what every mom should be like. And she'd never say a bad word about my dad. She'd say, 'Hey, he's your father, you should have a relationship with him.' "

Also, tc.athletics91 - were you at a Tigers game recently? Did you happen to ask for ketchup on your dog, then complain about it when you didn't get any? Way to go dude, you got a 15 year veteran vendor fired. "The way I see it, all the was doing was promoting the correct way to enjoy a hotdog and making an honest living. He deserves his job back and hopefully the stadium sees it that way too."

Ken Rosenthal previews today's game here (skip to 1:30 unless you want to listen to 90 seconds of Jeter talk)

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