It's a sign of the times that nobody — no fans, players, or members of the media — has shown any real degree of concern following last night's 12-1 demolition suffered at the hands of the Angels. Jarrod Parker dropped took his first loss in 20 chances, and CJ Wilson, long known for being an Oakland-killer, did his thing at the Coliseum, holding the A's to one run on four hits through seven innings.
But the Rangers had already lost. That whittled Oakland's magic number in the AL West to down to 7, meaning that the A's were playing relatively pressure-free baseball. A lot of the time, teams play well in that type of scenario. Simply put, that didn't happen last night, but it didn't matter — the A's are still 6.5 games ahead of Texas in the standings, their chances of winning the division sit at about 99.4%, and the best way to move on is probably to forget about last night entirely.
Sonny Gray is starting for Oakland after an extra day of rest; Jarrod Parker's bout with food poisoning on Sunday morning meant that Tommy Milone got the emergency start, pushing Parker's start to last night and moving the rest of the rotation back a day. His most recent appearance on September 11 was, shockingly, even less competitive of a game than last night's contest. Gray exited after five innings not because he was struggling, but because the A's held a 16-2 lead and there was simply no need for him to be in the game anymore. He ended up allowing two runs on four hits and three walks in his five innings of work. It certainly wasn't his sharpest outing, but he picked a good night not to come out with all cylinders firing.
On the year, Gray is 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA and a stellar 1.04 WHIP, and as of right now, he seems likely to appear in the A's playoff rotation.
Garrett Richards will oppose Gray for the Angels — he's not exactly a household name, but he's no slouch, either. Currently riding a three-game winning streak, Richards has allowed six runs on 17 hits and nine walks over his last 18.2 innings, which span his three September starts against Texas, Tampa Bay, and Toronto.
Jed Lowrie is still out of the A's lineup with a right hamstring cramp, meaning that Eric Sogard is playing shortstop and Alberto Callaspo is at second base. Daric Barton is batting second in the order, followed by Josh Donaldson. Brandon Moss is batting cleanup, presumably to avoid having the only two right-handed batters in tonight's lineup hitting back-to-back; Yoenis Cespedes is protecting Moss in the fifth spot.
Also, in case you missed it, tickets for potential ALDS games went on sale today at the Coliseum Box Office and online. Due to incredibly high demand, the A's ticket office has already announced that it's removing the tarps from at least some of the sections in the View Level — those are pretty much the only tickets remaining for the first two ALDS games, and they're on sale now for $35 here. And don't forget, there are still plenty (read: way, way too many) tickets available for the remaining games this homestand, especially the weekday ones. Get out to the ballpark if you can!
7:05pm Angels (G. Richards - R) @ Athletics (S. Gray - R)