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OAKLAND -- The A's begin the biggest home series of the season tonight with three games against the division-leading Texas Rangers. If the A's win one game they guarantee themselves a spot in the American League Wild Card playoff game. If they sweep Texas, they will emerge the American League West champions. RELATED: Wild Card standings A's clinch scenariosHere's manager Bob Melvin's lineup card:Oakland Athletics (91-68) lineup
Coco Crisp, CF
Jonny Gomes, DH
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Chris Carter, 1B
Josh Reddick, RF
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
Derek Norris, C
Adam Rosales, 2B
RHP: Jarrod Parker (12-8, 3.44)
With left-handed pitcher Martin Perez on the mound the A's have stacked their lineup with righties. Even with a lefty on the mound it is a bit of a surprise to see Brandon Moss out of the lineup. He is hitting .355 (27 for 76) with six homers, 14 RBI, and 10 walks in September. His .425 September on-base percentage ranked second in the American League. Chris Carter is 3 for 3 with a homer against Perez so it makes sense that he is in the lineup.
Top of the Order
Melvin is able to pen Coco Crisp in the lineup leading off and playing center field again. That is good news for the A's skipper who says he just stays away from Crisp at this point and hopes to see him in the on-deck circle. Crisp is the ignitor for the A's offense. He is 7 for 13 with five runs, two doubles, and a homer in three games since returning to the lineup after missing nine games with allergic conjunctivitis in both eyes. He started in center field in back-to-back day games which means his vision is back to normal. It can often be tough to see in the field with the high sun over the Coliseum during the day. Heart of the Order
Yoenis Cespedes is batting .396 with three homers, 10 RBI, six doubles, and two triples against Texas this year. He is 2 for 4 in his career against Perez. While Josh Reddick did a good job batting third for most of the season, Cespedes might be penciled in there for the next three years. Bottom of the Order
Stephen Drew moves down to seventh in the order. He has been batting near the top a lot lately. Drew is 0 for 7 in his last two games but had an eight-game hitting streak before the recent skid. Last week in Arlington, Drew went 7 for 17 against the Rangers and recorded a hit in all four of the games. Starting Pitchers
Jarrord Parker takes the mound on Monday with a 2-0 record and 1.93 ERA against the Rangers. He is currently on a career-high tying three-game winning streak. Perez's last start against the A's was five days ago and he didn't make it out of the first inning. He gave up five runs on six hits in two-thirds of an inning of work. If ever there is a game the A's should win against a tough Texas team, it is this one.