Upstart As Shoot For AL West Title

bleacherreport.com/Norm Hall - Getty Images
Aussie reliever Grant Balfour helped the A's in to the post-season. Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com/Norm Hall - Getty Images
The Oakland Athetics have been the Cinderella story in Major League Baseball this season. Highly unfancied to start the season, the A’s clinched at least a wildcard spot on Tuesday when Australian reliever Grant Balfour closed out a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers for his 23rd save of the season.

Their march to the playoffs doesn’t end there, though. Oakland still has two more games in this home stand against the Rangers. Win both of those, and the A’s will leapfrog the Rangers to capture the American League West title. The A’s are 5-2 against Texas at home this season and they lead the series 9-8 overall.

If they’re to stay alive in the division title race, they’ll need more from struggling left-armer Travis Blackley, who is expected to start on the mound on Wednesday morning (AEST). He lasted just one inning and gave up five runs against the Rangers last week, and before that he pitched just two innings against the Yankees. Blackley has only two wins from his past seven starts.

The Rangers are likely to start Matt Harrison, who racked up his 18th win of the season in a 9-7 decision over the A’s last week. He has a 6-1 career record against Oakland, and has picked up the W in three of his last four starts.

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