This is it, folks. For the second time in three years, it all comes down to Game No. 162, and once again against the Texas Rangers. It almost doesn't matter what the Rangers do today. We know who starter Nick Martinez is, a stopgap who is solid but beatable. We know what their lineup is, a few dangerous regulars surrounded by minor leaguers. None of that has mattered in five of their last six meetings with the A's.
No, all that matters is what the A's do themselves. Can Sonny Gray throw strikes like he did in his last start against the Angels? Can he avoid his habit of giving up a couple runs in the first inning and digging a hole to start the game? Can he be good Sonny? And how about the lineup? Can they come up with some extra-base hits, even a homer or two? Can they put together just one of those six-run rallies, the kind they used to hang on pitchers left and right earlier in the year? Can the defense keep its head in the game and avoid giving away unearned runs? Forget the opponent. The A's need to play their game and do what they did so well for four months.
Some of Oakland's hottest hitters entering this final showdown:
- Josh Reddick: .483/.452/.724 with 4 extra-base hits and 8 RBI in his last nine games
- Josh Donaldson: .375/.516/.625 with 2 homers in his last seven games
- Jed Lowrie: 7-for-16 in his last four games
- Geo Soto: .300/.391/.450 with 6 RBI in his last six games
- Eric Sogard: 5-for-12 in his last four starts
THAT'S OVER HALF THE LINEUP. OVER HALF THE LINEUP IS AT LEAST KIND OF HOT.
In Sonny's last start, he tossed seven sparkling innings against the Angels and struck out 12 batters. Let's see that one more time, buddy. Here are your full lineups.
|OAKLAND A'S||TEXAS RANGERS|
|Coco Crisp - CF||Leonys Martin - CF|
|Adam Dunn - DH||Elvis Andrus - SS|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Rougned Odor - 2B|
|Brandon Moss - LF||Adrian Beltre - 3B|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Jake Smolinski - RF|
|Jed Lowrie - SS||Tomas Telis - C|
|Stephen Vogt - 1B||Ryan Rua - LF|
|Geovany Soto - C||Luis Sardinas - DH|
|Eric Sogard - 2B||Adam Rosales - 1B|
|Sonny Gray - RHP||Nick Martinez - RHP|
One more win, and we avoid one of the most epic collapses in baseball history. No pressure.
Let's Go Oakland!