OAKLAND -- The A’s play their final home game of the regular season today and then fly to Texas for their last series against the Rangers. When they’ll be back in Oakland is yet to be determined.
With five games remaining, the A’s are in a good spot to at least clinch a spot in the wild-card game, needing any combination of three Oakland wins and Seattle Mariners losses. But where would that game be held?
The A’s begin today tied with the Kansas City Royals for the top wild-card spot. Having lost the season series to the Royals, if those teams ended the season tied and played in the wild-card game the A’s would travel to Kansas City for the Sept. 30 wild-card game.
There’s also the possibility of the Royals passing the Detroit Tigers in the A.L. Central. If that happened and the A’s and Tigers played the Tigers, the wild-card game would be in Detroit, as the A’s lost that season series as well.
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Of course if the A’s finished with the better record of the two wild-card teams they would host the game at the Coliseum. The bottom line is, after they wrap up the season in Texas, the A’s next destination is still up in the air.
"That’s fine," manager Bob Melvin said. "That means we’re in position to go somewhere after we’re in Dallas, and that’s what you aspire to.
"This (trip) could be anywhere from four to 10 days. And you don’t know where you’re going as far as climate. So probably a little bit more in the luggage today."
Here in Oakland, the sun is peeking through early clouds about a half-hour before game time. Here’s the A’s lineup for the home finale:
And the Angels’ lineup:
* Reddick is one of two lefties in the lineup against Angels left-hander Hector Santiago. Reddick had three hits last night and is 7-for-12 on the homestand, and Melvin said the right fielder had "some good swings last night off the lefty."
* Not in the lineup: Stephen Vogt, who flew out with the bases loaded in the eighth last night and afterward blamed himself for stranding "a small village" of runners in scoring position. Melvin, though, said that’s a normal rest day for Vogt, who’s still dealing with the bone bruise in his right foot and sprained left ankle.
* Speaking of the Angels bullpen, which pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday, Melvin pointed out that despite using right-handers almost exclusively in innings 7-9, they aren’t a unit that necessarily falls victim to matchups.
"Even if you nick the starter up in the fifth or sixth, they’re running some quality guys out there, and really quite a few guys that can get left-handers out," Melvin said. "They have a lot of righties, whether it’s (Mike) Morin or (Fernando) Salas or any of those guys that have good changeups to get left-handers out … It’s a significant bullpen, no doubt about it."
* Jon Lester, who’s on track to start that wild-card game, makes his final regular-season start today. While some may point to the Lester-Yoenis Cespedes trade as a turning point for the A’s this season -- not in a good way -- it isn’t because of Lester’s performance. Since joining the A’s, he’s 6-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 10 starts.