ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Athletics clinched the AL West title three days ago. Next stop: Home-field advantage throughout the playoffs?
There have been no team meetings. No official proclamation. No formal discussions. But there doesn't need to be. These guys know what's still within reach.
Into Wednesday's games, the A's trailed Boston by only one game for best record in the AL. Actually, the A's will only be tied with the Red Sox for best overall record if they make up that one game. But if the A's and Red Sox finish with the same record, the tiebreaker goes to Oakland.
“I think it's very important,” A's manager Bob Melvin says of home-field advantage. “We'll continue to balance that with guys who we think need a day off. …
“We do have some depth. Guys we think need a break, we'll pick our opportunities [to rest them] over these last four games.
“But we're still playing to win, because home-field advantage is very important.”
Same thing is on the mind of his players.
“It would be great,” Reddick says. “We're thinking about it. We're not making that big a deal about talking about it, but that's why you see the starters in there every day with four games left.
“We're trying to finish with a better record than Boston, and we're trying to finish with a better record than Detroit.”
Into Wednesday's games, the Red Sox had the best record in the AL at 95-63, the A's were next at 94-64 and then came the Tigers at 92-66.
As things stand now, the A's would host Detroit in a Division Series beginning Friday in a re-match of last year's Division Series. Then, Detroit had home-field advantage and won Game 5.
But the echoes from O.co. Coliseum can still be heard in some parts.
“It's incredibly loud in there, with all of the ‘Go Oakland' chants and they bring all kinds of horns and drums,” A's reliever Sean Doolittle says. “You read all the stuff from the Tigers last year, that ours was the most hostile environment they played in, the loudest.
“We know how valuable our crowd can be.”