The Oakland Athletics should feel on top of the world after taking three out of four from the American League giant Detroit Tigers. Sadly enough the fact that they didn’t sweep because of a blown save by Grant Balfour put a big damper on things. The upcoming Tampa Bay Rays series is an even bigger one for the A’s though and they need to make sure not to feel bad too long about the final Tigers game. If they can win this series against the Rays with two of three they’ll leap from the second wildcard slot into the first slot.
It appears that they will have a little trouble catching the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West but regardless of that, the higher the climb in the wildcard standings the better the chances that they can work out the rest of it when they get to October. The fact is that Balfour is one of the game’s best closers today just like he was earlier in the week. All closers blow saves no matter how great they are. They should just hope that he feels as nonchalant about it as I do and he’ll be fine.
As good as the Tigers are and have been, the Rays might be a little more dangerous right now. If the A’s have trouble with them they’ll wind up close to losing their second wildcard slot and they certainly do not want to entertain that thought. It isn’t like the National League where no one is close. Five teams are chomping at the bit just waiting for the A’s to hit a four game losing streak. They cannot allow that to happen if they want to be in the postseason. This is that time of the year. They have a great start to the stretch run and as long as they take the momentum they had a couple of days ago and move on, they’ll be there.