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A's aim to balance rest, push for top WC spot

September 25, 2018

SEATTLE -- The party may be over, but the A's want another. They also need rest ahead of a likely Wild Card matchup with the Yankees next week."There's definitely a balance to this, but I think the depth of our team allows us to be confident no matter who we

SEATTLE -- The party may be over, but the A's want another. They also need rest ahead of a likely Wild Card matchup with the Yankees next week.
"There's definitely a balance to this, but I think the depth of our team allows us to be confident no matter who we give a day off to, whether it's in the lineup, whether it's in the bullpen," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "But it is important at this point in time of the season to make sure that once we get to the postseason that guys are fresh. It's just as much of a mental grind as it is a physical grind."
Is home field an advantage?
Melvin opted to rest Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty in Seattle on Tuesday night and plans to get two more of his regulars off the field Wednesday ahead of an off-day on Thursday. Several key bullpen arms will also get their rest in the coming days as the A's prepare for a winner-take-all game that could necessitate several innings from their relievers.

"That's the awesome part of this team," Piscotty said. "We can roll out a couple different lineups and be very competitive. We're trying to win, there's no doubt about it. We want that home-field advantage. We're not going to be shaken or devastated that we're going there. I think we have as good a chance to win."
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The A's have not yet decided who will start the Wild Card Game -- and they don't even seem close to a verdict, either. Should they choose from an eroded rotation, right-handers Edwin Jackson and Mike Fiers are the leading candidates, though neither have fared well at Yankee Stadium. Location will subsequently be a factor in the decision.
"Two completely different ballparks," Melvin said.
"Some of it will depend on where we play," A's general manager David Forst said. "We obviously know who we play, but some of it will depend on the location, and then everything goes into winning that game. We've been in that game before. We know what goes into it. We know how tough it is, so we'll spend a lot of time talking about that game and anything beyond that we'll get to afterwards."
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Bullpenning their way through the game has not been ruled out.
"I think we're leaving everything open," Melvin said. "There are several guys in the rotation we feel like could start that game. We understand that the bullpen has been a strength for us. I think what we see here coming down the stretch, who's potentially fresher than others going in and performance going in, so it is definitely not decided."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.