The A's were just a few seeing-eye singles away from sweeping the White Sox. But two out of three ain't bad, especially when the Angels are getting swept by the Other Sox. Now the A's head into Toronto up by 4 games over Anaheim, and 5 1/2 over Texas.
But there's still no room to let up. Pitching matchups this weekend:
The A's have their three best pitchers going, but playing on that old, bouncy artificial turf scares me. You never know what kind of weirdness will happen on that stuff, especially since Hudson and Mulder are ground ball pitchers. Perhaps I shouldn't watch; I never really enjoy watching the pseudo-baseball that gets played on rugs, anyway.
Meanwhile, news has come out that Jermaine Dye has a weird kind of thumb fracture, called an avulsion fracture, in which a ligament pulls away a small piece of bone. He'll have to play hurt, because it will take a couple of months to heal.
Billy McMillon has hit well in Dye's absence, but watching the last few games, it's clear the outfield defense has suffered quite a bit. Chicago took several extra bases that probably wouldn't have happened with Dye in right. Some suggest calling up Nick Swisher, but using a strikeout-prone rookie in a pennant race has some obvious drawbacks, too.
Losing Dye's right-handed bat tilts the A's lineup strongly towards the left-handed batters box. In the A.L. playoffs such a tilt won't really hurt much, except against the Twins. The Yankees and Red Sox have no lefty starters, and no particularly scary lefties in the pen, either. And the Angels don't even have any lefties on their entire staff. But the Twins will throw Johan Santana out there twice, and can bring in J.C. Romero out of the pen. Bobby Kielty (.245/.328/.472 against lefties) would probably start against Santana, and Kielty is 2-for-5 with a homer off him this year, but I still don't have much faith in Kielty these days, even batting right-handed. It sounds crazy, but with Dye out (or ineffective), I think I'd almost rather face the Red Sox or Yankees in the first round than Minnesota.