A's lineup: Gomes DH, Rosales 2B


A's lineup: Gomes DH, Rosales 2B

Programming note: Rangers-A's coverage kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with A's Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California!
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)

Instant Analysis
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.

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

Ryan Christenson has a reason to follow the World Series even more so than most years.

Christenson, who manages the A’s Double-A Midland squad, is also skippering the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. One of his players happened to be Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, if only for the briefest of periods.

Schwarber, as is well-documented, played in two AFL games as a quick tune-up before joining the Cubs’ active roster for the Fall Classic. It’s an unprecedented path, as Schwarber hadn’t appeared in a game for Chicago since April 7, when he tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee.

When he crushed a double off the right field wall in Game 1 against the Indians’ Corey Kluber, Schwarber became the first position player in major league history to get a hit in the World Series after recording zero hits during the regular season.

His preparations for the grand stage took place in the relative anonymity of the Arizona Fall League, and it presented some unique conditions for Christenson to manage under.

“It’s such a unique situation to see someone thrust into that after missing so much season,” Christenson said in a phone interview before Game 1. “To have a chance to be activated this time of year, it’s something special if he can pull this off. If he (sparks the Cubs), literally the guy can be a legend.”

Schwarber appeared in just two games for the Solar Sox, going 1-for-6 as a designated hitter. Christenson didn’t have much hands-on interaction with Schwarber — the Cubs had their own staff members on site helping him with treatment — but Christenson saw Schwarber’s swing rounding into form even in his brief time in the batter’s box.

“The bat speed is there,” said Christenson, who hadn’t met Schwarber previously. “I love watching him work in the cage. He’s got a great swing. I don’t think it would take someone of his caliber long to get his timing and pick up where he left off. It’s a simple swing.”

The Cubs asked Christenson to work Schwarber into the top of the batting order with the Solar Sox so as to maximize his number of plate appearances. They also asked one other favor.

“The only request they had was that I took it easy with him on the bases … not trying to score him from first base on a gapper.”

Schwarber’s mere presence in the Arizona Fall League created a delicate dynamic. The league is geared toward up-and-coming prospects who have yet to break into the majors, and Christenson said AFL officials were concerned about Schwarber dropping in and taking playing time away from those players.

Each major league organization sends at least six players to the AFL. Of those six, one is designated a “priority player,” meaning they must play at least four days a week, so innings can be tricky to spread around.

Adding to the sensitivity of the situation, the Solar Sox’s roster includes not only Cubs prospects but also those of the Cleveland Indians. Christenson needed to avoid a situation where Schwarber was stealing at-bats away from prospects of the American League champs — the team that Schwarber was training to try to help the Cubs beat.

But things unfolded smoothly, and Schwarber showed appreciation for getting the chance to drop in for a couple games.

“I’ll definitely be pulling for him,” Christenson said.

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

CLEVELAND — Left-hander Giovanni Soto has been claimed by the Oakland Athletics off waivers from the Chicago Cubs.

Soto was designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot on the 40-man roster for slugger Kyle Schwarber, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list following knee surgery in April. Schwarber was put on the World Series roster Tuesday and went 1 for 3 with a double, walk and two strikeouts in the opening 6-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Soto was traded to the Cubs from Cleveland on April 11 and was 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA in 33 relief appearances for Triple-A Iowa. He made his big league debut with the Indians in 2015 and appeared in six games and 3 1/3 innings.

Oakland claimed him Wednesday.