The A’s magic number to clinch a postseason berth is two, and they could clinch Friday night with a win against San Francisco and a Mariners loss against San Diego.
Oakland could join the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox (first clinch in 12 years) and the Tampa Bay Rays, who last knocked the A’s out of post season by beating them in the 2019 Wild Card.
Bob Melvin isn’t worried about home field advantage right now and won’t worry about any post season plans until the team clinches. He said the focus right now is to just clinch, and it doesn’t matter where:
“I think we would love to do it as soon as possible. If we were on the road that would be the case too. Any time you can secure a spot it allows you to maybe do some things diff whether it is rest guys or try to get other guys more at bats so it hasn’t happened yet and the way we, the short answer would be as soon as we can do that, would be a benefit to us.”
Frankie Montas (3-4, 5.86 ERA) was reinstated from the paternity list Friday. His wife Nichollete gave birth Sunday to seven-pound, seven-ounce Ellie Amor Montas. To make room, the A’s sent outfielder Seth Brown to the A’s alternate site. Brown made his MLB debut last season in late August and is hitless in five at-bats over three stints in the bigs this year.
Melvin is unsure when Montas will take the mound and will assess how he feels prior to Friday’s game but he confirmed Jesús Luzardo will start on Saturday for the second game against the Giants.
Minor trade finalized
The A’s finally announced the two players who were part of the Mike Minor trade with Texas. Two 2019 Oakland A’s draftees, third-round outfielder Marcus Smith and 11th-round outfielder Dustin Harris were sent to Texas. The Minor deal took place almost three weeks ago.
Melvin spoke about Minor prior to the Battle of the Bay series:
“… What we have gotten from Minor too, his last start, all the guys that our front office went out and picked up, all these guys have performed well for us.”
Harris played in the Arizona Rookie League in his short 58-game season in Single-A where he had 26 RBI, a .325 batting average and a homer. Smith was drafted out of high school and played 29 games in the same league with 14 RBI and a .361 average. Smith was rated as one of the A’s top 20 prospects by MLB.com.
Stephen Piscotty said his plan is to be available off the bench Friday and hopes to get the start tomorrow. Melvin said he had no idea he was that eager to play and was happy to hear he is feeling much better after a little scare with his knee when he jumped at the wall in Seattle in an attempt to rob a homer.
Melvin, when he heard Piscotty told reporters he will hopefully be available tomorrow, said:
“We will see how he does tomorrow, he still has to get out on the field today. He hasn’t been out on the field yet. I am glad he is eager to play, I hadn’t been given an update on whether or not he is able to yet, i think we were gunna go through batting practice and see how that went.”
After an off day, the A’s feel ready to go. Piscotty said their off day was much needed and the team knew after the “Covid suspension” this part of the schedule would be tough with all the traveling and doubleheaders:
“I haven’t really been apart of anything like that. I felt like, well i wasn’t participating those last couple days it felt like we did a tremendous job of hanging in there and I think that win on Wednesday was just huge. That was a gutty performance by everyone and I think that gave us a lot of momentum into the off day which allowed us to just relax and enjoy.”
Piscotty didn’t leave the house on Thursday and spent the day enjoying the U.S. Open GOLF tournament and tried to stay off his feet.
The A’s have 10 more games left and will play three against the Dodgers starting Monday in Los Angeles and then will return home for a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners. Piscotty spoke about the remainder of the season and where the A’s stand:
“I think we are set up great. Obviously I had a little injury bug and it has gone around the team a little bit but we had an off day yesterday and we have another one coming up on Monday so that is big. Hopefully we can take care of business earlier rather than later here. I think that will be important going into the playoffs.”
He explained that he really likes where the team is at. The A’s have wanted to win the AL West for many years and that has always been their goal when they start the season and they may do that this weekend. The Bay Area native grew up rooting for the A’s during Battle of the Bay series and hopes to play in it this weekend, preferably on Saturday.
The new 2020 post season schedule calls for a three-game Wild Card, something the A’s have been needing these past two seasons, losing both the 2018 and 2019 Wild Card. The Division leaders will earn the home field advantage and without fans, it is still an advantage playing in the ballpark they are used to playing in. Melvin spoke about the rules this season and post-season celebrations:
“It is different, because it is something you really look forward to. You work hard to put yourself in a position and when you finally do clinch a playoff spot, and we are not there yet, then it is something you want to celebrate. Unfortunately that is not going to happen this year, at least in the fashion that we are used to.”
Melvin said it is what it is and he doesn’t know what the guys have up their sleeves but they may have a way to celebrate that gives them something to look forward to but emphasized that they still have work left. The earlier they clinch, the more time they can relax and get ready.
The A’s are 3-0 this season against the Giants this season. The Giants are the first place team in the National League Wild Card but can’t afford to lose a game while the A’s are looking to clinch the American League West Division.