It’s nothing the A’s aren’t used to. Another do-or-die game scenario. That’s what Thursday’s Game 4 of the AL Division Series will be… again.
After a stunning performance by A’s infielder Chad Pinder at the plate, and Ramón Laureano’s passionate talk in the dugout in Game 3, the team will continue their chances of a miracle comeback against Zack Greinke.
The A’s have been used to the one-and-done game scenarios during the typical wild-card game, and had to come from behind during the 2020 AL Wild-Card Series, but the added pressure is all in a day’s work.
“I don’t know if it makes it easier,” A’s infielder Matt Olson said Thursday. “It’s a more comfortable situation just because we’ve been here and we can win these games, but obviously we don’t want to be in this position where we have your backs against the wall and you have to fight, but we’re here now -- you can’t do anything about that, all we can do is go out there and win this game today and get to tomorrow.”
This will be the A's fourth do-or-die scenario so far these playoffs, or “live-or-die,” as Laureano described it. The A's, of course, have won each of the past three. But Laureano wants the mood to stay loose.
“That’s what everybody says, but just trying to play relaxed,” Laureano says. “Laughing, goofing around, joking -- yeah.”
A’s infielder Jake Lamb said something similar on Wednesday, before their 9-7 win over the Astros. He said that the clubhouse felt it was just another ballgame. But that energy wasn’t apparent toward the middle of Wednesday’s game, until Laureano’s pump-up talk, and a game-tying homer from Pinder, changed it all.
If you’re wondering what Laureano said, the team wouldn’t reveal too much.
“I’m not sure it would be classified as a speech,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Somewhere between emotional outburst and speech, probably, but if you know Ramon then it’s probably right on. Yes, it was impactful. He just was not having anything to do with what was a little bit of a quiet dugout at that point in time.”
Pinder said he continued to get goosebumps reliving the speech. The speech that told the rest of the A’s that the team wasn’t done -- that they had come too far and overcame too much during the season to finish in a sweep.
Don’t be surprised if you see Laureano continue his passionate speeches on Thursday if the team needs the energy boost.