By John Hickey
Thursday, September 12th, 2013 at 10:32 am in 2013 regular season.
It will be interesting to see how the A’s play the final game of their series in Target Field.
They are coming off their biggest blowout of the season, an 18-3 win over the Twins Wednesday. And on Friday they start their final series of the season against their competition in the American League West, the Texas Rangers, in Arlington.
With those kinds of bookends, a day game like this could get lost in the shuffle.
If it doesn’t, if the A’s come out and play a good, crisp game against Minnesota, it could be bad news for Texas.
Certainly it’s manager Bob Melvin’s plan to have that good, crisp game. He doesn’t want to load the weekend series with too much importance.
“This is the last time we’re playing them,’’ Melvin said before the finale with the Twins. “At this point, any time we play (the Rangers), it will be more in the spotlight.
“No one game is any more meaningful than any other. But when they have a direct effect in the standings, they are a little more important. But it won’t affect the way we prepare for them.’’
Twins manager Ron Washington, on the other hand, isn’t constrained by a game Thursday. The Rangers finished their series with the Pirates Wednesday, and Texas wound up getting swept, which is why the A’s come into Thursday with a three-game lead in the West.
“We’re ready to play,’’ Washington told the Dallas Morning News. “Our heart is still in it. We have to do what we need to do to win ballgames. I’m not concerned.
“We’ll be ready to play when Oakland comes to town. It’s not over with yet.’’
His players believe that, too. But they seem to be grasping at straws to find answers to the perplexing question of why they’ve stopped hitting and pitching like the team they were in the first four months. After all, it was just Aug. 31 when they still held a two-game lead over the A’s.
“As a team we’re struggling in all phases of the game,’’ third baseman Adrian Beltre told the paper. “We need to find a way to tighten things up. We’re positive we’re going to do it. We just have to find a way.’’
Oakland is 7-3 in the first 10 games of September (before Thursday) with a 2.63 team ERA and a .310 batting average while scoring 6.0 runs per game. At the same time, Texas is 2-8 with a 4.60 ERA and .259 average while scoring 3.4 runs per game.