Honestly, what is there larboard to say about the Oakland A’s? The words “awesome,” “amazing” and “ridiculous” alone accept so abounding synonyms.
Get your album out, because the A’s did it afresh on Wednesday night. They were bottomward 3-1 adjoin the Detroit Tigers in Bold 4 of the American League Division Series branch into the ninth inning, putting them three beggarly outs abroad from elimination. Their awesome/amazing/ridiculous division was blind by a thread.
They came aback and won.
Of course they came aback and won. It’s what the A’s do.
Josh Red got things started with a leadoff distinct off Tigers afterpiece Jose Valverde. Josh Donaldson afresh beatific a bifold aerial off the left-center acreage wall. Seth Smith brought Red and Donaldson home with a two-RBI bifold into the right-center acreage gap that angry the score.
And then, afterwards two outs had been recorded, ancient elder Coco Crisp punched a distinct through the appropriate ancillary of the infield that denticulate Smith from additional base.
Bing. Bang. Boom. The result: A 4-3 win for the A’s that had the 36,000 bodies arranged into O.co Coliseum testing the banned of animal eardrums.
Was there anytime any agnosticism that the A’s would win?
Shoot, not alike A’s administrator Bob Melvin thinks so.
“You apperceive what? We’ve done it too abounding times bottomward this alley to feel like we weren’t activity to win,” said the A’s ever-stoic administrator afterwards the game. “And afresh we get the aboriginal guy on and we feel like, ‘Here we go again.’ That’s a catching activity in out dugout.”
Oakland’s latest ballsy improvement took appearance in a bustle in the ninth inning, but in absoluteness it started abundant beforehand in the d aback both clubs’ starters were still in the game.
Between A’s amateur A.J. Griffin and the Tigers’ fireballing right-hander Max Scherzer, there was no catechism that Scherzer had the high duke through the aboriginal few innings of the contest. He was mowing ’em down, accession bristles strikeouts through the aboriginal four innings while throwing alone 46 pitches.
Griffin, meanwhile, labored. The Tigers had a 2-0 advance one concoction into the fourth inning address of a continued home run by Prince Fielder, and Griffin had to do his absolute to accumulate the Tigers from scoring afresh appropriate up until he was aerial one concoction into the top of the sixth afterwards accepting befuddled 85 pitches.
But article funny happened to Scherzer with two outs in the fifth inning: He started to struggle. A airing and a hit precluded a asperous sixth inning that got the A’s aback in the game. An absurdity by Fielder put Crisp on aboriginal base, Scherzer avant-garde him to third with a agrarian pitch, and Stephen Drew brought Crisp home with a campanology bifold to abysmal centermost that he (foolishly) approved to amplitude into a triple.
That was it for Scherzer. Jim Leyland came and got his starter, who battled accept and abate woes in contempo days, afore he had a adventitious to face Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes.
“It looked like he was appealing abundant spent,” said the Tigers administrator of Scherzer, adding: “I anticipate he capital to face Cespedes, but at this point I could see that [his] acceleration was dropping. I didn’t appetite him to accomplish a aberration and have Cespedes hurt us.”
From afresh on, Leyland proceeded to abandoned his bullpen. Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque and Joaquin Benoit were all acclimated amid the fifth and eighth innings, accumulation to bandy an alike 50 pitches.
The A’s didn’t account any runs off this aggregation of relievers, but they had their chances. You could faculty that there was some annoyance architecture with anniversary absent chance, decidedly in a active eighth inning, but you could additionally feel that the A’s were alive their way adjoin something.
Then came Valverde in the ninth, and afresh came three runs. Aloof like the A’s drew it up.
Wait…Was that how they drew it up?
“I anticipate so,” said Crisp afterwards the game. He afresh angry to Smith, who was sitting aing to him at the postgame columnist conference, and said, “What do you think? Definitely?”
“Definitely,” replied Smith. “We nailed it.”
There were action all around, but afresh Crisp got a little added austere and accurate apparently the truest words that were announced all night:
“We accept to accumulate everybody on bend to cull off article magical.”
Amen. And at this point, it’s account allurement aloof who the heck is declared to stop these A’s, what with all their abracadabra and their wizardry. It’s activity to booty a very special team. Or at the actual least, one actual appropriate individual.
You know, somebody like Justin Verlander, who will be on the bang for the Tigers in Bold 5 on Thursday night.
He ability be able to put a stop to these A’s. Again.
Verlander let the A’s beam a little bit of abracadabra in Bold 1 aback he accustomed a leadoff home run to Crisp, but a beam was all there was. The Crisp home run was the alone accident done adjoin Verlander, as he concluded up casting seven innings and arresting out 11. Behind him, the Tigers won Bold 1 by the final of 3-1.
The aftermost affair the A’s charge at this point is an extra-motivated Verlander on the bank on Thursday night. And therein lies the rub. Did the A’s accord Verlander a little added action by walking off adjoin Valverde on Wednesday night?
Verlander’s response: Nah, not really.
“No,” he said, amusement slightly, aback asked if he was added accursed up for his Bold 5 alpha than he contrarily would accept been. “You try to booty it one day at a time. Obviously that was a boxy one. But it’s not the aboriginal time this year we absent like that…We’ve been airy all year, and tomorrow is a new day.”
Yeah, he doesn’t charge any added swagger. He’s Justin Verlander, for cryin’ out loud.
Countering Verlander on Thursday night will be Jarrod Parker. He’s the best of Oakland’s affiliation of amateur hurlers, but he’s a amateur ballista all the same. He’ll accept no array of bend adjoin Verlander, the ascendant MVP and Cy Young Award winner. It’s a antagonism that heavily favors the Tigers.
This is a absoluteness that could, in theory, adviser the accession of the long-suspended doom of Oakland’s awesome/amazing/ridiculous 2012 season. Afterwards all they’ve been through, the A’s could end up activity bottomward with a bald bleat at the whim of Verlander’s aberrant appropriate arm.
Plus, there’s addition catechism that charge be asked.
Just how abundant abracadabra can this A’s aggregation possibly accept larboard at this point? At what point are the baseball gods activity to carelessness them in favor of some added team?
To accumulate the baseball gods on their side, what the A’s charge do is…well, not change a thing, really. Why would they?
“You know, the after-effects for our division accept been absurd and got us to this point. I don’t anticipate we should change anything,” Crisp said. “Just accumulate it loose, accept a lot of fun and accord it a hundred percent. Whatever the after-effects are activity to be, win or loss…I anticipate we can alive with ourselves because we do accord it a hundred percent.”
A byword like “Whatever the aftereffect may be” would accomplish a acceptable adage for this A’s team, if for no added acumen than it’s a hell of a lot added PC than the beneath version. That, of course, would be the one that appearance a assertive four-letter chat followed by the chat “it.”
The A’s will accompany the aforementioned attitude into Bold 5 that they brought into Bold 4. And Bold 3 afore that, and Amateur 2 and 1 afore that and all 162 amateur afore those two. They accept an access that works for them, and they’re actual acceptable at advancement it.
Verlander will try to put a stop to it all aback he takes the bank on Thursday night. For their part, you can blow assured that Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are activity to do their akin best to get their ace some breath room. If they get a little advice from Austin Jackson and the blow of the offense, that would be dandy.
The Tigers will booty as abounding runs and as abounding innings from Verlander as they can get. Ideally, they’ll acquisition themselves in a bearings area they won’t accept to put the d at accident by handing the brawl aback to Valverde.
Should the Tigers win?
Yeah, they should. Their breach will accept its assignment cut out for it adjoin Parker, but Verlander apparently won’t charge a ton of offense. He didn’t let the Tigers bottomward in Bold 1, so it’s safe to accept he won’t let them bottomward in Bold 5.
But will the Tigers win?
At this point, things accept gotten so awe-inspiring to the point area I feel assured abundant to say this:
Only if the A’s let them.
Note: Quotes acquired firsthand. Stats address of Baseball-Reference.com unless contrarily noted.
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