With their postseason fate already determined, the Oakland Athletics appear to have shifted their focus to their upcoming divisional series.
The Seattle Mariners might have more to play for in Sunday's season finale at Safeco Field as they try to send manager Eric Wedge out on a winning note.Oakland suffered a 7-5 loss Saturday, allowing Boston to clinch the top seed and home-field advantage in the AL playoffs. The Athletics (95-66) are assured the No. 2 seed, setting them up to host Detroit with Game 1 scheduled for Friday.They fell to the Tigers in five games in last year's divisional series."It was a good matchup last year," manager Bob Melvin said. "We've had some spirited games with them this year, so it should be an exciting series."While they can't improve their playoff position anymore, the A's would surely like to see a better performance Sunday from Sonny Gray after Jarrod Parker was tagged for seven runs and seven hits Saturday in 4 1/3 innings. He surrendered three homers -- two to Brad Miller, including his first career grand slam -- after the club had yielded an average of 0.9 home runs per nine innings while going 12-4 over its previous 16 contests.Oakland also left 10 runners on base, going 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position, sorely feeling the absence of Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes, 11 for 28 (.393) with runners in scoring position this month with 13 RBIs, is day-to-day after leaving Friday's game due to shoulder stiffness. He's 2 for 7 off scheduled Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez with a triple.Wedge announced prior to Friday's 8-2 loss that he would not be returning to manage the Mariners (71-90) for a fourth year, then elaborated on his decision Saturday."If they'd offered me a five-year contract, I'm not coming back here," he said, citing differences between him and Seattle's front office. "My vision of the future and theirs are just different."Gray (4-3, 2.90 ERA) was the winner as Oakland clinched the AL West his last time out, allowing four runs in five innings of an 11-7 victory over Minnesota last Sunday.He threw seven innings in a 7-4 loss to Seattle on Aug. 20, yielding two runs -- both on a Nick Franklin homer -- and one additional hit.Ramirez (5-2, 4.56) left in the seventh inning of his last start due to groin tightness one at-bat after Kyle Seager's throwing error, which later led to him being charged with two unearned runs.He's expected to be OK for Sunday."He's just a little tight and felt like it was pulling a little bit, but he was smart enough to let us know about it to where nothing more than that happened," Wedge told the team's official website.Ramirez went 0-1 in three games versus Oakland last year -- two starts -- while recording a 1.76 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings.