Could Rickey's magic help A's avoid sweep?

September 5, 2012, 6:57 pm
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OAKLAND -- The last time the Oakland Athletics lost more than one game in a row was during a three-game skid from August 12-15. They responded by winning 15 of their next 19 games. When a team is playing as well as the A's are, it is easy to overreact following back-to-back losses, especially when they come at the hands of division rivals. Now would be a good time to get back in the win column, salvaging the home series with the Angels and entering an off-day prior to a six-game road trip through Seattle and Anaheim with some positive vibes.
After Thursday, 17 of the final 27 games are on the road. "We aren't afraid to play on the road, we've had some success on the road," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I don't think that's something we are looking at as daunting. The schedule is the schedule, there's nothing we can do about it."To end the home stand on a winning note the A's will have to topple Dan Haren who has struggled against his former team. He is 0-3 with a 4.85 ERA in his last four starts against the A's, and 0-1 with a 6.08 ERA in Oakland since being traded to the Diamondbacks prior to the 2008 season. A's roving instructor Rickey Henderson is doing everything he can to help. This morning Yoenis Cespedes got a shipment of bats and the Hall of Famer grabbed one, rubbed down the barrel, and gave it a kiss. He explained to Cespedes that the ritual he performed on the bat would put some hits in it.The A's will have ace Brandon McCarthy on the hill. He is making his 18th start of the season and the A's are 10-7 when he starts. McCarthy is one win away from tying his career-high in single season wins with nine. "He's a guy that certainly doesn't put too much pressure on himself and kind of insulates," Melvin said. "We feel great about the days that he pitches." Entering play on Wednesday the A's, Orioles, and Yankees are tied for the top spot in the American League Wild Card standings. Tampa Bay is 1.5 games behind and the Angels are scratching and clawing their way back in the picture just 3.5 back. Notes:-- Chris Iannetta who burned the A's in the first two games of this series by going 4 for 7 with one homer, one double, three RBI, and two runs is not in the lineup on Wednesday. -- After taking an Albert Pujols liner off his left shin on Tuesday night, pitcher Sean Doolittle is questionable to appear in Wednesday's game. "He's was hobbling around a bit last night," Melvin said. "He was better than we expected today." Melvin added that Doolittle was fine during the game even though he gave up two runs on three hits. He noted that with the adrenaline factor he probably didn't feel it much at the time. -- Jordan Norberto who is on the DL for the second time with a left shoulder issue is starting to feel better but isn't nearing a return yet. "We've cleared a hurdle with how his shoulder is feeling," Melvin said. "You never know until he is playing catch and he is still not there yet." Melvin said he is holding out hope that Norberto will be able to return at some point in the final month of this season.

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