Preview: A’s host Tony Russa and White Sox Tuesday; A’s need all the wins they can get to stay in race

Former Oakland A’s manager Tony LaRussa returns to the Oakland Coliseum on Tue Sep 7, 2021 to face his former team for the first of a three game series (file photo from Redbird Rants)

By Jerry Feitelberg

Well, here we are. The Oakland A’s (74-63) meet the Chicago White Sox (79-58) for three games starting Tuesday night. The A’s returned home after finishing a road trip with a 2-4 record. Things did not go well for the Green and Gold on the trip. Yes, the A’s hitting was much better.

They took two out of three from Detroit. That was the good news. The Tigers hit nine home runs in the series, and they scored 17 runs. The A’s went to Toronto for a three game series against the Blue Jays. They scored 18 runs in the series and lost all three games. The A’s starters and bullpen were pounded by the relentless Blue Jay offensive juggernaut. The A’s lost by scores of 11-10, 10-8, and 8-0. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, must be wondering what happened to his pitchers.

The A’s chances of making the playoffs are getting slimmer by the day. They remain five and 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros. The Seattle Mariners have slipped past the A’s into second place in the AL West. The A’s are now four games behind the Boston Red Sox for the second Wild Card spot.

The Mariners trail Boston by three games. The schedule does not look favorable for Oakland as they head down the homestretch. The A’s play the Chicago White Sox for three games starting Tuesday night. The White Sox won three of the four games played in Chicago.

The White Sox will be in the playoffs as they will be the AL Central division champs. After the White Sox leave, the A’s face the pesky Texas Rangers. The Rangers own the worst record in the AL West. The A’s are 9-7 against them. The Rangers have not rolled over for Oakland. The A’s go on the road to play the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels before the final 13 games of the year.

If the A’s will make the playoffs, the schedule has allowed them to go after the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. The A’s have seven left with Seattle and six with Houston. It won’t be easy. The Mariners are playing well and have improved in the second half of the season.

The Astros are 9-4 against Oakland and have had their way against the Green and Gold all season long. To this observer, it is highly doubtful the A’s will catch either team. The A’s have not played well since the All-Star break. They had a stretch when their hitting was suspect.

The front office helped by acquiring Starling Marte, Yan Gomes, and Josh Harrison. Matt Chapman’s power returned, and he is doing better. The injury to the A’s ace, Chris Bassitt, puy a monkey wrench in the A’s rotation. Frankie Montas is pitching well in the second half of the year. The same cannot be said for Sean Manaea, Cole Irvin, James Kaprielian, and Paul Blackburn.

So, the A’s have twenty-five games to right the ship. They face the powerful Chicago White Sox. Their lineup includes Tim Anderson, MVP Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert. A very tough lineup. The A’s will face lefty Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday and Reynaldo Lopez on Thursday.

The Sox have not announced their starter for the Tuesday opener. The A’s pitchers will be Kaprielian on Tuesday, Montas on Wednesday, and Manaea on Thursday. The A’s hope that the bullpen gets back on track after the shellacking they took on the road trip. Oakland needs to get hot. Let’s hope they can do it.

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