Oakland A’s have a chance to overtake the Texas Rangers
Travis Blackley – a 29-year-old left-hander who had not lasted more than two innings in his two previous starts and is only in the rotation because of injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson, and the suspension of Bartolo Colon – limited the Rangers to one run and three hits over six innings on Tuesday night in Oakland’s 3-1 victory.
At 93-68, the A’s and Rangers are now tied atop the AL West.
Blackley, who improved to 6-4 with a 4.10 ERA, outpitched Texas left-hander and 18-game winner Matt Harrison, who allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
Blackey’s start was the 100th of the season by an A’s rookie. The team’s current rotation of Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily and Blackley is fully composed of rookies. Anderson is expected to return in time for the postseason, which will be a boost for the young A’s.
First, Oakland must determine whether it will play in the wild card game and proceed directly to the ALDS by winning the AL West. It once appeared that the wild card was the A’s only post-season option since they were as many as 13 games out of first place.
This evening, before their home crowd, the A’s will attempt to accomplish what was thought to be improbable when the season started in claiming the AL West title. Griffin, who is 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA, will oppose Rangers right-hander Ryan Dempster, the veteran who is 7-3 with a 4.64 ERA in 11 starts since he was acquired from the Chicago Cubs.
The match-up features the an A’s team made of a rag-tag group of rookies, young players and veteran journeymen against a Rangers club stocked with handsomely paid sluggers and veterans who have won back-to-back American League pennants.