A’s Set To Kick Off Crucial Home Stand
By Joseph Lopez
Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
It should go without saying that the A’s upcoming 10-game home stand will be carrying some significant weight. With an impressive outing in Detroit against the Tigers, the A’s find themselves once again in the playoff hunt. Their home stand, however, will likely prove to be a test of sorts.
The A’s will welcome to playoff contenders in both the Rays and the AL West leading Rangers during their home stand. The A’s will get a little breather, however, finishing their home stand with four games against the lowly Houston Astros. Depending on how well the A’s play against the contenders, their home stand could significantly help the team’s playoff chances.
With the second wild card spot, there are plenty of teams currently in the playoff hunt. Among those in the hunt are the Rays, A’s, Indians, Orioles, and Yankees. The A’s currently sit behind the Rays for the first wild card spot, but hold a three and a half game lead over the Orioles for the second wild card.
Holding out for the wild card, however, is not on Oakland’s agenda. The division is still within reach.
In addition to three games at home, the A’s will face Texas three more times in Arlington from September 13-15 for a crucial final showdown between the two clubs. The A’s haven’t had much success against Rangers this year, compiling a 5-8 record against their division rivals. In their last five contests against the Rangers, the A’s have gone 1-5.
The A’s success in Detroit, however, has given Oakland a bit of momentum going forward. The team looked very solid on both offense and defense. They pitched well and put together some very impressive at-bats against a Tigers team that is considered to be a heavy playoff favorite. A stunning loss on Thursday shocked the A’s, but the team still performed exceedingly well and took three of four from the Tigers.
Just like the series in Detroit, this home stand is a test for the A’s. Carrying that momentum from the Detroit series forward and throughout their home stand will be crucial for the A’s. The team has had a difficult time finding a sense of consistency throughout this season, but if they were to find some consistency, what better month to do it than the final month of the season?
The second half has been a mixed-bag for the A’s, but as we head into the final month the team does appear to be on the verge of a hot streak. The A’s caught fire at the right moment last season when they capture the division on the final day of the regular season. Seeing the A’s catch fire again during the month of September would be exciting and definitely rewarding to those fans who were still supporting the club when things looked grim just a week ago.
The A’s will need to ride this current wave they’re on throughout September and they’ll need the following players to keep on producing:
- Brandon Moss—Moss smacked four home runs during the series in Detroit. He seemed unstoppable at the plate and his presence in Oakland’s lineup is rising. The hot-hitting Moss helped guide the A’s last September by batting .355/.425/.684 with 6 HR and 14 RBI. This year, Moss has struggled with consistency, much like the A’s, at the plate, but he’s entering the home stand on an absolute tear. If he continues to play the way he’s been playing as of late, the A’s could continue to see more production from the offense.
- Coco Crisp—Crisp often is regarded as the ignition to Oakland’s offense. When Crisp is rolling, so are the A’s. Crisp has been particularly good as of late and has collected four home runs this month. He hit just .186/.243/.225 in July, but has since gone on to hit .288/.347/.530 with four home runs and 7 RBI in August. The A’s are hoping Crisp can continue to play well down the stretch.
- Josh Donaldson—Donaldson has been Oakland’s most productive player for much of the year. He’s emerging as one of the game’s better infielders with sound defensive skills and a solid presence at the plate. He’s collected 16 RBI during the month of August and should continue to play well down the stretch for Oakland.
- Jed Lowrie—Lowrie has been one of the very few players on the A’s to remain consistent throughout the season. An offseason acquisition, Lowrie has proven to be a great addition for the A’s. Billy Beane‘s decision to land the infielder via trade with the Astros is paying off in a big way. Lowrie has hit .292 with 10 HR and 57 RBI this year. Any stretch run made by the A’s will involve Lowrie for sure.
- Jarrod Parker—Parker started the year off in rough fashion. Since his rough start, however, Parker has settled down and become a very reliable force in Oakland’s rotation. On the year he is 10-6 with a 3.58 ERA over 163.1 innings of work. Parker will aim to get the A’s started off on the right foot during the team’s home stand, as he is the starter on Friday night against the Rays.
The home stand kicks off Friday night against the Rays.