The Oakland Athletics suffered a tough loss on Thursday, as closer Grant Balfour gave up four runs in the ninth inning to let the Detroit Tigers avoid a four-game sweep at home -- but the A's are resilient, as we know, and now they're home for ten games that can solidify their postseason aspirations in 2013.
Currently, Oakland (75-58) trails the Tampa Bay Rays by a half game for the top American League wild-card spot in the playoff chase. And now, the Rays (75-57) come to the O.co Coliseum for three games this weekend, starting tonight.
The A's also trail the Texas Rangers (78-55) in the AL West division race by three games, and lo and behold, those Rangers are in town for three games starting Monday.
Thus Oakland has a great chance to narrow and/or eliminate some deficits over the next week, and to top off the home stand, the Houston Astros come to town for four games starting next Thursday.
The A's are 12-3 against Houston this year, and this is the last series between the two teams. Even though the Astros have split the last six games with Oakland, the A's would be best served sweeping those four games as they head into the final stretch of their 2013 season.
Off the field, Oakland has some special events going on this weekend, too:
- On Saturday, the Oakland A's and Chevron will host the Chevron STEM Zone, an exhibit exploring scientific concepts behind the game of baseball. Admission to the STEM Zone, located behind Section 217 outside the Bar & Grille, is free to fans with a ticket to the game. The STEM Zone -- STEM is an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering and math -- a component of “Science of the Game,” a unique educational program initiated by Chevron and the Oakland organization that deepens interest and understanding of science among Bay Area youth through baseball. Through interactive experiences, students learn how the game of baseball works and the fundamental roles that gravity, acceleration and reaction time play;
- Also on Saturday night after the game, it's Green Day Fireworks Night, sponsored by Chevron, where fans can enjoy a Labor Day Weekend fireworks presentation set to the music of famed music act, Green Day;
- Sunday is Breast Cancer Awareness Day, a day-long celebration of survivorship honoring those who have courageously battled breast cancer. The event raises funds to support research, education, advocacy and free services for cancer patients and their families throughout the Bay Area. For the 10th straight year, the A’s will donate $5,000 as a part of “A Gift of Faith” grant to a local charity in memory of longtime KTVU Channel 2 reporter, the late Faith Fancher. All proceeds from the sale of commemorative pins, hats, pink jerseys and heart ribbon pendants at Sunday's game, an A's autographed quilt raffle and fan and sponsor support will benefit the American Cancer Society and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. Since 1999, the A's have raised more than $1.25 million to help further advance breast cancer education and research.