The Oakland Athletics' 12-13 record since the All-Star break is not only pretty poor for a team seeking the postseason for a second straight season, but it's also opened up the door of possibility for a slew of other American League baseball teams.
Currently, the A's (68-52) hold down the final AL playoff spot -- the second wild-card berth -- but they have several clubs right on their tail for it: the Baltimore Orioles (65-55), the Cleveland Indians (65-56), the Kansas City Royals (63-57) and the New York Yankees (62-58).
And one of them comes to town this weekend to catch Oakland in person.
A.J. Griffin (10-8, 3.88 ERA) takes the mound tonight at the Coliseum to face Cleveland, which counters with Justin Masterson (13-8, 3.59 ERA). Strangely, the Indians have been worse than the A's lately, losing seven of their last ten.
Rookie Sonny Gray was nothing short of spectacular against the lowly Astros, throwing eight shutout innings with nine strikeouts. Another rookie, first baseman Nate Freiman, drove in four runs on four hits, including a two-run home run in the third inning.
It was Gray's first major-league win, and Freiman has now hit all three of his MLB home runs against Houston.
Tonight and this weekend, the A's will be looking to avenge a four-game sweep they suffered in Cleveland back on May 6-9. In that series, Oakland was outscored 21-8, losing twice by one-run margins.
Masterson has been relatively bad in his last two starts, giving up nine earned runs in less than 12 innings, while Griffin is 0-1 with a 3.65 ERA in his last two starts.
Game time is 7:05 p.m.