Yesterday, it looked like the A's would never win again. Today, it looked like the A's were back in May or June and reeling off wins in their sleep. Bob Melvin's maniacal lineups finally went to full "I'm throwing my hands in the air, just hit the damn ball will you" level with Adam Dunn batting second for the first time since 2008. Guess what? It actually worked as Dunn roped a 2-run double to give the A's a third inning lead, and the team never looked back.
Sure, the A's had two on, one out thanks to our old pal Adam Rosales throwing away a possible double play ball. But it doesn't matter how the guys got on base. For once, someone came through. It felt like a watershed moment. After the game, Reddick said "We've got to do that, and we haven't done that in a long time," in regards to capitalizing on opportunities.
The very next inning, Josh Reddick led off with a solo home run, the first A's homer since Sunday. Another throwback moment. Rather than nursing a one run lead, Scott Kazmir could relax a bit up 3-1. With Scott Kazmir's darting change up finally returning (looking like first half Kaz), the vibe was positive. However, the A's received a scare in the bottom of the third.
Josh Donaldson, diving to reach a ball that ended up being foul down the third base line, slammed his already wonky knee into the infield dirt. He was in obvious pain and hobbling, but refused to leave the game. It was an inspiring moment, and his tough play, knowing how important he was to the team, knowing how critical this game was, and fighting through every inning lifted the players and the fans. Tonight, Josh Donaldson truly became a leader. He became THE GUY. It was clear that the fans, players, coaches, everyone was looking to him at that moment. I am really proud of JD. He just bought a season's worth of equity from me; I won't give him any crap for all of 2015. Hold me to it, AN! This was a Willis Reed moment. He threw some 'Tussin on it and stayed on the field.
And not only did he stay in, he contributed. In the fifth, he powered a base hit to center. For once, his teammates ensured that it was not wasted. Brandon Moss walked and Jed Lowrie followed with a clutch double to make it 4-1 (remember when Lowrie couldn't not hit a two-bagger? Truly this was a throwback game). After a pitching change Reddick lined a single, scoring two more for a 6-1 lead.
Scott Kazmir allowed one more run in the bottom of the frame, but other than that was stellar over his seven innings. The bullpen held and the A's took the game 6-2.
Now we watch. The A's have a chance to clinch tonight with a Mariners loss. Right now they are up 3-0 over the Angels, but it's still early. Either way, the A's have clinched at least a one-game play-in for the play-in, ensuring that no matter what there will be a 163rd game for the A's this year.
For the record, if they do clinch tonight, I think they should go balls out and have a great time. It's a long season, there's plenty of time for brooding over missed opportunities. Party so hard you purge all the weight of the last 6 months from your system and have fun playing baseball again.
No matter what happens with the M's though, we can all enjoy our Friday night. And for that, we are thankful.
P.S.: It seems that there is no serious injury to Donaldson, and he should be good to go tomorrow. But you already knew he was playing no matter what.