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A's playing for postseason positioning vs. Angels

By Dan Arritt, The Sports Xchange
A's playing for postseason positioning vs. Angels
Khris Davis and the Oakland A's face the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

The Oakland Athletics are firmly locked into an American League wild-card spot heading into the final weekend of the regular season, and they have a slight chance of hosting the one-game playoff if they can sweep the Los Angeles Angels.

The series begins Friday night at Angel Stadium, and the A's sit two games back of the Yankees for the top wild-card spot in the AL.

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New York (98-61) and Oakland (96-63) split the six games this season, but the Yankees own the second tiebreaker by virtue of a better intra-division record.

New York closes out the season with a three-game series at the AL West-leading Boston Red Sox. One victory by the Yankees this weekend will lock up home-field advantage for the wild-card game next week.

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"We're just continuing the good baseball we're playing and trying to ride it into the postseason," A's first baseman Matt Olson told mlb.com after hitting a grand slam in a 9-3 win against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.

A few Oakland players have some personal milestones within reach as well.

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Khris Davis, who played college baseball just a few miles away from Angel Stadium at Cal State Fullerton, has a major league leading 47 home runs, five ahead of J.D. Martinez of Boston.

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The last Oakland player to lead the majors in home runs was Mark McGwire, who hit 52 in 1996.

"There's a lot more to play for right now than just numbers," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters after the win on Wednesday. "When you're not in it, that's kind of the focal point, but we're lucky enough to try to do both."

Mike Fiers is scheduled to start on the mound for the A's in the series opener against the Angels (78-81), who can finish .500 with a sweep.

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Fiers (12-7, 3.31) is 5-1 since the A's acquired him from the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 6. Oakland also won its first seven games with Fiers on the mound before both lost 5-4 at the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 16. He rebounded Saturday and held the Minnesota Twins to one run and four hits over six innings, but did not received a decision in the 3-2 walk-off win.

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"I'm going out there every start giving it everything I got just like every other guy in this clubhouse," Fiers told mlb.com after his latest outing. "Everyone leans on each other every night, and I feel like it's always someone different to get it done."

Fiers faced the Angels when he was still with Detroit on May 30, allowing one run and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He did not receive a decision in the 6-1 victory.

In nine career starts against the Angels, he's 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA. Angels center fielder Mike Trout is 6-for-17 in his career off Fiers with four doubles and a home run.

Angels right-hander Jaime Barria wil try to conclude his rookie season on a high note.

Barria (10-9, 3.54) is 5-2 in his past 11 starts with a 3.19 ERA.

He began the season by going 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA before experiencing an 0-6 stretch over seven consecutive starts from June 12 to July 21. Barria has not faced the A's this season.

"He's got great feel on the mound," Angels manager Mike Scioscia recently told mlb.com.

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