Motor City Madness: Can the A’s recent Success in Detroit Carry Over Into A Playoff Run
Moss is Boss…And just in Time
If you told me a week ago that the Oakland A’s would head into a four game series against the Motor City Kitties having to face Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister and would take three out of four of those games and even be a strike away from a sweep, I would think you’ve been listening to too many Ted Nugent records in the basement of a rundown Flint, Michigan glue factory. It wasn’t so much that the A’s sleepy offense finally woke up or that Big Bad Bartolo Colon and Brett Anderson made efficient returns from the DL as it was the timing of this collision of good fortune that has me excited for September and the chance of an extended season. But now with the A’s headed back to the O-A-K with this weekend’s series against Tampa Bay followed by division leader by three games Texas, the season once again is on the brink.
Myself, Bay Area sports writers, skipper Bob Melvin and the bartender at the Kingfish all agree that as Coco goes, the A’s go. In the series before the Detroit shocker, the A’s looked like their usual lost selves against the Orioles. Taking one out of three from the birds was pretty disappointing as was Yoenis Cespedes seemingly clueless offensive play that week. One thing that did emerge though and with a force of nature was Coco Crisp coming off of a wrist cortisone shot and subsequently hitting shots and making plays like a man ready for Fall Ball. Sure enough, as the A’s rolled into Mo Town Brandon Moss began hitting like never before and Jed Lowrie took back his crown as king of doubles while Eric Sogard continued to play out of his head. Oh yeah, and Daric Barton, that lousy dinner party guest who only brings a small $0.99 bag of chips to a pot-luck and never leaves was called up from AAA…and even significantly contributed. After the strongest first half in a quarter century the green and gold have fallen desperately flat in this second half but after surprising arguably the best team in baseball, are the A’s who seem to thrive when their backs are against a wall, ready to make their annual nail biting run?
Grant Balfour’s blown save in Thursday’s game may be the deciding answer to that question. How much momentum the team lost because of that is something that should be considered. If the A’s pull off a sweep of the defending AL Champs and head back to Oakland to face their Wild Card rivals the Tampa Bay Rays, it’s a fair assumption that they are the hottest team in baseball. But after such an emotional blow was delivered in the form of Tori Hunter, will that hurt the swagger the A’s have once again found or will the knowledge that they dominated a pitching staff that is full of aces be enough to carry them over? Make no doubt about it, this weekend’s series with the Rays followed by the Rangers IS THE SEASON for the A’s. If they can take both series’ they’re in the driver’s seat in both the wild card and maybe the even division but if they can’t, well, this blog will become much less interesting (impossible right?). If Coco, Moss and friends can stay hot and Jarrod Parker continues to be lights out and if Brett Anderson can now contribute a few good starts in his customary one full month per season of play, we may be stalking craigslist like hawks for playoff tickets before we know it.
Detroit has the highest murder rate in the country but in Oakland, Ray and Ranger body counts are looking to grow.
With a healthy, postseason focused, Coco Crisp, on the field, the sky’s the limit for the Green and Gold.