A’s try to keep it “business as usual”

On the day after the big celebration, things seemed back to normal for the A’s. I didn’t detect any hangovers or bloodshot eyes. More impressively, the home clubhouse was back to looking normal. There were absolutely no signs of the champagne-soaked fiesta that took place after the A’s clinched a wild card berth Monday night. Plastic was put down everywhere to protect the carpet, and players were told not to wear their spikes so as not to poke holes in it. That’s why players were running around in their socks last night as puddles of champagne formed everywhere.

Anyway, the question is how the A’s handle things in their return to the diamond, since obviously tonight’s game has huge ramifications. A win tonight and Wednesday afternoon gives the A’s the division championship and a ticket straight to the A.L. Divisional Series, which would be a huge upgrade over playing in Friday’s do-or-die wild card game against either the Orioles or Yankees (site TBA). A’s manager Bob Melvin said he doesn’t expect any letdown Tuesday night.

“I think it’s business as usual for us,” he said. “It’s not like anyone was here until two in the morning last night. I don’t think anybody over-did anything. They had a lot of fun with it in the time we were here, but I think everybody realizes today is just as important a game as yesterday.”

But take it from second baseman Adam Rosales. Last night wasn’t just any ordinary night.

“I fell asleep fast, then I woke up 45 minutes later — wide-eyed,” Rosales said. “I’ve never felt this in baseball before, just to know the opportunities that lie ahead of us. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

–One important roster note: Reliever Pat Neshek flew to Florida to be with his wife, Stephanee, who is about to deliver their first child. Melvin didn’t give a day for him to return. Labor is expected to be induced today or Wednesday.

The lineups:
A’s — Crisp CF, Drew SS, Cespedes LF, Gomes DH, Reddick RF, Donaldson 3B, Moss 1B, Norris C, Rosales 2B; Blackley LHP.

Rangers — Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Hamilton LF, Beltre DH, Cruz RF, Young 3B, Napoli 1B, Soto C, Gentry CF; Harrison LHP.

Joe Stiglich