Today may as well be a one-game playoff, because if the A's don't win this showdown they will return to Oakland 5 games back with 26 to play, and the upcoming series with Seattle will begin to feel like a battle for the wild card.
On the plus side, perhaps today will be the "avoid a 4-game sweep on the road against the team you're chasing" that started Oakland's rise in 2012. Remember when Travis Blackley bested Yu Darvish and Oakland began a surge that ended with the AL West crown?
Let's hope that Scott Kazmir can channel some of that lefty magic against a guy who makes shoes. That would be Matt Shoemaker who has gone, in the span of one year, from "guy I have literally never heard of" to "savior with a 13-4 record".
Adam Dunn is now an Oakland Athletic, but he will not join the club until tomorrow. This leaves us, for one more day, with the joy of Alberto Callaspo in the DH spot where at least he can't mess things up on the infield.
Don't kid yourself: While the term is most certainly overused by fans throughout a season, THIS is a must-win. The lineups:
|OAKLAND A'S||LOS ANGELES ANGELS|
|Sam Fuld - CF||Kole Calhoun - RF|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Mike Trout - CF|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Albert Pujols - 1B|
|Stephen Vogt - 1B||Josh Hamilton - LF|
|Brandon Moss - LF||Howie Kendrick - 2B|
|Derek Norris - C||David Freese - DH|
|Alberto Callaspo - DH||Erick Aybar - SS|
|Eric Sogard - 2B||Chris Iannetta - C|
|Andy Parrino - SS||Gordon Beckham - 3B|
|Scott Kazmir - LHP||Matt Shoemaker - RHP|