The regular season is 2/3 over and don't look now but the A's are trying to pull away in the AL West. Don't count on it -- Texas has plenty of horses to recover and fight back -- but Oakland enters today's game with a 5 game lead and the Rangers are on the verge of posting a score for the A's to see: A loss. (Currently 6-0 Indians in the bottom of the 8th.) Suddenly, the Rangers can't score, they've been in free-fall since the All-Star break (and even going into the break), and opportunity is knocking right now for the A's to open up a sizable lead in the division.
Jarrod Parker takes the ball for Oakland against Tommy Hanson, whose long pause (my dog has those) makes it extremely difficult for him to curtail (my dog has one of those too) the running game. But you knew that. With a victory, the A's would win the series from the Angels, who haven't beaten Oakland all season when not starting either Jared Weaver or CJ Wilson.
Today's lineup has Seth Smith batting 7th in search of any kind of a hit -- a chopper off the plate, a bunt, a sun-drenched pop-up, a "duck-snort" -- to snap an 0 for 25 drought, and has Stephen Vogt registered in the #8 spot.