By Morris Phillips
With 97 wins in the bank and an important date booked for the Coliseum on Wednesday, the A’s weren’t in the mood to make any more deposits on Sunday.
The final day of the regular season played out without fanfare, as the A’s dropped the series finale to the Mariners, 3-1. Kyle Seager’s two-run homer in the first inning off Tanner Roark probably prompted the A’s disinterest as much as anything else.
“It was a 12 o’clock game, last game of the season, we’ve already clinched a wild-card spot, so I’m sure you guys can imagine where our minds are at,” Roark admitted afterwards.
Saturday provided all the clarity the A’s needed: the Rays dropped their penultimate game to the Blue Jays, and then the A’s held on to a nail-biter, 1-0 victory over the Mariners a few hours later. That combination clinched home field advantage for the A’s on Wednesday, which is a big deal given the fast exit the A’s made last season, spending more time flying to New York to face the Yankees, then they did as a postseason participant, losing to the Bombers, 7-2.
Sunday was significant only for loose ends. Stephen Piscotty, fresh off the disabled list, got a start in right field to shake off the rust. And Marcus Semien started then departed, playing in all 162 games in a season for the first time in his career.
“Give him 161 and cut him off, but that’s not going to happen,” manager Bob Melvin said of Semien’s achievement. “So we’ll get him an at-bat today. He deserves it.”
Mark Canha was a non-participant because of his groin injury. The outfielder missed the entire Seattle series, putting his Wild Card participation in doubt.
The A’s will choose between Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers as the starting pitcher versus Tampa Bay on Tuesday.