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Starting players set for action down stretch

ANAHEIM -- Even after locking down their second straight American League West title with a week to go in the regular season, the A's still have too much to gain to rest all of their starting players.

That's why the starting lineup for Monday night's series opener against the Angels very much resembled ones that manager Bob Melvin has written out prior to this point.

"We still have some games to play, and we still have some games to win," Melvin said. "We'd like to secure [postseason] home-field advantage, so I don't think our mindset is any different. You might see a little different personnel day-to-day, but I think the flexibility of our roster would suggest we're still going to run out a roster that we feel is capable of winning.

"So our focus doesn't change. We go out on the field and continue to try to win today's game and then come out tomorrow and do the same."

According to Monday's standings, the A's would host the Tigers in an AL Division Series rematch. However, if the A's can overcome a 1 1/2-game deficit for the league's best record, held by Boston, they'd ensure themselves of home-field advantage through the postseason. Even more, they would draw a more favorable matchup in the AL Wild Card winner.

Unlike other clubs, the A's don't even need to rest their regulars. That's because there's so few of them with such a strict platoon system in use.

"You're able to keep them fresh that way," Melvin said. "Look, everyone wants to play every day, but we only have a select few that do here. In Jed [Lowrie]'s case, he'll DH [Monday]. We'll probably give Josh Donaldson a day off in the next coming days. We're able to put a guy like Alberto Callaspo over at third. Like I said, it could look a little bit different, but at this point in the season, I do feel like maybe we do have some fresh legs based on the fact they're not out there for 155-plus games."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.
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