By Jason Wojciechowski on September 8, 2005 at 4:47 AM
As ugly as it's been for the A's (losing too often to the 'roided up Mariners), at least the Angels haven't been any better. Each team is 4-6 in its last ten, so with tonight's win and Anaheim's loss, the A's are still just half a game back, though that game is in the loss column, so the Angels control their destiny in those regards. The Yankees and Indians have been a little better, so the A's have slipped to third in the wild card, 1.5 back of New York (two losses).
The A's schedule isn't exactly soft down the stretch, either. They've got Texas six times, sure, and the Mariners for the final three (in a series in which I'd bet King Felix will already be shut down for the year), but they've also got seven straight on the road against Boston and Cleveland, which could be really tough.
In addition, despite the whole "play your rivals down the stretch," the A's have only one series left with Anaheim, also, though it's a four-gamer and it's at home. Any bets which series will determine who's going to the playoffs from the West?
Of course, it might be over by the time that series is played, because for the seven tough ones the A's face out of division, the Angels get seven against Detroit and Tampa Bay, and those series are in Anaheim. If the A's go into their series with the Angels needing to win three of four just to stay alive for the final weekend, they'll be in trouble. They need a strong showing against Cleveland and Boston, like shocking everyone and going 5-2 or something. 2-5 is unacceptable. Something in between and they might survive it, so long as Vlad Guerrero doesn't go nuts and hit 12 homers down the stretch or something.