With the Athletics in a very tight AL Wild Card race, each series from here on out is an important one.
The A’s (76-64) currently are behind the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays in the wild-card standings, tied with the Seattle Mariners at 2.5 games back of a playoff spot. The series win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday was one the team needed.
“This is a big series for us,” Melvin said Thursday after the 3-1 win. “Coming off a really tough one in Toronto, losing the first game of this series, you know, we know we have to win a lot of series coming down the stretch so this looked to be a very difficult one and to be able to come after the first lost and win two games, kind of shows you what this team’s made of. It doesn’t surprise me. I think everyone here expects to get on a little bit of a roll here and hopefully, these two wins against them catapult us.”
The White Sox are one of the best teams in the AL right now, and the boost showed.
In seven innings, starter Sean Manaea struck out nine, giving up just one earned run. He mirrored what Melvin said about the series.
“It’s huge,” Manaea said. “Especially against those guys, those guys are a playoff team so anytime you get a team like that, it’s a good indication of how we stack up so playing against those guys and getting these last two wins is huge and definitely a big momentum push for us.”
The A’s will face the Texas Rangers for a three-game series over the weekend, and despite a 51-88 record, the Rangers tend to be a thorn in the side of Oakland.
The A’s then face the struggling Kansas City Royals (62-77) before rounding out September with critical matchups against their AL West foes -- three against the Los Angeles Angels (69-71), seven against the Seattle Mariners (76-64) and six against the Houston Astros (81-58).
“Every game from here on in, and you know, Texas is a team that’s played well against us, so there can’t be any letdown, and there won’t be,” Melvin said. “We just have to take care of business no matter who we play. Whether it’s Houston, whether it’s Seattle, whether it’s Texas, Kansas City -- all important series for us -- and farther you go, the more important every series will be.”