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Game Thread #156: Oakland Athletics vs Los Angeles Angels

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It may not be the powerhouse, season-changing, for-all-the-marbles contest between the two top AL West contenders that we may have expected, but this final series against the Angels can still earn the A's a dream of a third straight playoff appearance, even if the route wasn't one that we would have chosen. Jeff Samardzija, who has been excellent for the A's with very little to show for it, will take the mound against C.J. Wilson in a game that the Angels don't really need, but the A's really do.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Good evening and welcome to another night of A's baseball, opening the very last week--seven games--of the season. I think I speak for everyone associated with the green and gold when I say that Josh Donaldson's home run last night might have been the best thing to happen to the A's in two months, giving the A's a series win instead of a series loss, and sparking the crowd, and the A's, to a much-needed victory before taking on the American League West champion Angels.

In what can only be described as good news, the Royals did lose their suspended game today, giving the A's the full one-game advantage. They are winning their second game; however, so the A's need to win to keep the advantage. The Mariners, on the other hand,are currently being waxed by Toronto (at press time for this article, they are down by 10), so it's likely that the A's and Royals can both gain ground for Wild Card spots 1 and 2. The A's probably need to win 4 of their last 7 to make the playoffs in some fashion. It's possible. It's even likely. But a win today would lower the magic number yet again, and build some confidence going into next week; wins, as you know, haven't been easy to come by this month. Or last.

The Angels are throwing some lefty pitchers at the A's, and the A's lineup reflects it. Jonny Gomes is batting fourth (big sigh), but Coco and Fuld are holding down the top spots in the lineup, which I like. Norris is in at DH, Soto will catch, Punto of the hustle yesterday has played into the lineup, and Freiman will be at first. The Angels are countering with their A-team, so if the A's can play with them, in some distant universe, we can imagine a future match-up.

This is the first of the two series left. Let's start it off in style.

Here are the full lineups:

Today's Lineups

LOS ANGELES ANGELS OAKLAND A'S
Kole Calhoun - RF Coco Crisp - CF
Mike Trout - CF Sam Fuld - RF
Albert Pujols - 1B Josh Donaldson - 3B
David Freese - 3B Jonny Gomes - LF
Erick Aybar - SS Derek Norris - DH
Brennan Boesch - DH Jed Lowrie - SS
Chris Iannetta - C Nate Freiman - 1B
Gordon Beckham - 2B Geovany Soto - C
Collin Cowgill - LF Nick Punto - 2B

LET'S GO OAK-LAND!