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Looking ahead as A’s switch into postseason mode

The A’s earned their ticket to the A.L. Divisional Series, and right now they sort of remind you of that low seed in the NCAA Tournament that is gathering momentum and nobody wants to face. A big part of the A’s success to this point is their outlook on things — they’ve attacked this season with carefree abandon, flourishing in the underdog role and knowing that not much was expected of them all season. Will things change in that approach now? With the American League down to a four-team bracket after Friday, the A’s certainly won’t be sneaking up on anybody in the postseason. In fact, they’re the second seed and Detroit is the third, so the A’s technically should be the hunted in this series. Surely, they’d like to maintain their role as the upstart team that still has doubters to convert.

“Ever since I’ve been here, it’s always been, ‘The A’s can’t compete because of payroll,'” A’s catcher Derek Norris said. “We’re better off (having doubters). I hope they keep doing it.”

I’m interested to see how this team reacts to the playoff atmosphere. A’s manager Bob Melvin has excelled all year at instilling the A’s with the right mental approach, whether it’s leading into a tough series, a tough road trip or bouncing back from a tough loss.

The A’s went 3-4 against the Tigers in the regular season, going 2-2 at home and 1-2 in a series at Comerica Park on the last road trip.

Here’s what Melvin had to say about facing Detroit:

“It’s going to be a tough matchup. They played very well against us during the season. They have a very powerful lineup that can certainly score some runs. They also have great starting pitching. We will have our work cut out for us.”

That’s all for now …

Joe Stiglich