The Oakland Athletics hold the lead spot in the AL Wild Card race, but they are looking for a little more. Before Monday, the Athletics had only won one game out of the last five. Many think that since the Athletics did so well during the beginning and middle of the season, that this lull the Athletics’ are currently experience is a normal occurrence in the ups and downs of a regular season. So when the Athletics went from Baltimore to Detroit, no one thought the Athletics stood a chance against the AL Central leaders, the Detroit Tigers.
With Josh Reddick on the DL, Brandon Moss took right field while Daric Barton, Reddick’s usual replacement, took first base. If the Athletics were going to win, they would have to fight.
And the Athletics’ showed they were ready to battle when Coco Crisp doubled to lead off the game. The Athletics scored twice in the first inning – so did the Tigers. Then the A’s scored twice in the fourth, and the Tigers matched the A’s runs once again. In the sixth, the A’s scored two more runs and then two more in the seventh. Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes, Moss, and Barton, who had not played a game since May 17th, were all big hitters in Monday’s game while Crisp earned his 100th career home run.
Not only was the Athletics’ offense on point, but so was their defense. The Tigers loaded the bases twice, once in the seventh and once in the eighth. With the help of Crisp, who had an amazing diving catch in the 8th inning, the Athletics’ pitchers were able to escape disaster. Grant Balfour came in for the ninth inning to earn his 33rd save of the season. The Tigers scored once in the eighth and once in the ninth to make the final score 8-6 Athletics.
With a similar lineup for Tuesday night’s game, the Athletics pummelled Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander in the first inning. The Athletics worked Verlander’s pitch count up to 44 in the first, which included two runs. The A’s went on to score four more runs while the Tigers scored three. Before the game was delayed due to rain, the Athletics had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth. After an 80 minute delay, the game was ended with the Athletics on top.
No one could have predicted that the Athletics – who were on a downward spiral – could take on the Tigers and actually win. Maybe Reddick’s injury was a blessing in disguise. This new lineup, without Reddick, seems to be the winning formula – at least against the Tigers. Even though the Athletics’ come back in 2012 the spanned last two months of the season, I have a feeling that if the A’s stay this course, they will be able to win the AL West in just one.