The A’s will have six games left after their series with Texas in Arlington wraps up Thursday. They have a chance tomorrow to win the series and secure a .500 road trip which most people saw as the make or break stretch for this surprising team. With all six games being at home let’s take a look at the matchups and probable’s for the final six games of the A’s 2012 regular season.
Friday-7:00pm Blake Beavan [24 Games Started 10-10 4.64 ERA] vs. A.J. Griffin [13 Games Started 6-1 2.80 ERA]
Saturday-1:00pm Jason Vargas [32 Games Started 14-11 3.94 ERA] vs. Dan Straily [6 Games Started 2-1 3.60 ERA]
Sunday-1:00pm Erasmo Ramirez [7 Games Started 1-3 3.42 ERA] vs. Tommy Milone [30 Games Started 13-10 3.74 ERA]
What to take from this series: The A’s do not have to face Felix Hernandez even if manager Eric Wedge decides to push up the rotation by skipping Blake Beavan with a Thursday off day. If that is the case move Vargas and Ramirez up one day and add in Hisashi Iwakuma (the same pitcher who would not come to terms with the A’s last season after being posted in Japan). On a smaller note the A’s will face Jason Vargas, who has pitched 5 times against the Athletics this year allowing only 9 earned runs with a 2-1 record including a complete game.
Monday-7:00pm Martin Perez [5 Games Started 1-3 5.03 ERA] vs. Jarrod Parker [28 Games Started 12-8 3.44 ERA]
Tuesday-7:00pm Matt Harrison [30 Games Started 17-10 3.17 ERA] vs. Travis Blackley [13 Games Started 5-3 3.75 ERA]
Wednesday-12:35pm Ryan Dempster [26 Games Started 12-7 3.07 ERA] vs. A.J. Griffin [13 Games Started 6-1 2.80 ERA]
What to take from this series: The A’s will potentially miss Yu Darvish. Darvish did not pitch Tuesday due to an injury but has a goal date of Sunday to return. This would mean the A’s would miss him and instead face Martin Perez (who they beat Wednesday night). Harrison will pitch Thursday against the A’s as well. It will be interesting to see what manager Ron Washington will do with Darvish. Depending on how Thursday plays out he may want to keep Darvish to face the A’s on Monday in a series that could decide who wins the AL West.
These next two series will have a major impact on how the A’s postseason chances and potential match ups will look. If they can overtake the Rangers and somehow finish with the best record in the AL (not out of the question by any means) they will guarantee themselves of a playoff series rather than just a one game play in. If they finish in the first wild card spot they will most likely face the Baltimore Orioles in the one game play in, in Oakland. Finishing in the second wild card spot would see the A’s face either the New York Yankees or the Baltimore Orioles in their respective ballparks. Regardless of this though, they will need to win these next two series to at least get into one of the wild card spots.
Another interesting development from these probables is that you can look out to see who might potentially pitch the wild card game. If the rotation cycles through normally that would make Dan Straily the starter. However, there is a day off before the wild card game which leads me to believe the A’s will go with Tommy Milone to pitch a potential playoff series clinching game. I do not see Bob Melvin pushing up Jarrod Parker even if the game is on the road (Milone has struggled on the road, although he proved Tuesday he can pitch in big games on the road). This is because if the A’s win the game Parker could pitch Game 1 of the ALDS.