The only storyline that's mattered for the Oakland Athletics over the past month has been the dismal tale of their colossal collapse after holding baseball's best record for a good portion of the season.
Lost in that, though, is the consolation that they still have an opportunity to play their first playoff game at home.After regaining their spot atop the wild-card standings, the A's send Drew Pomeranz to the hill Saturday against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.Oakland (84-69) has gone 12-25 since Aug. 10, allowing the Los Angeles Angels to shoot past it and claim the AL West title. It was swept in a three-game set by baseball-worst Texas heading into its series with last-place Philadelphia (70-84), but Friday's 3-1 victory and Kansas City's 10-1 loss to Detroit gave the A's a half-game edge for the top wild-card spot.They scored each run with two outs in the second inning, as Coco Crisp, Derek Norris and Eric Sogard recorded RBIs.Trade-deadline acquisition Jon Lester had another solid performance Friday, and Oakland now looks to Pomeranz (5-4, 2.53 ERA) to do the same.Pomeranz has had a tough season overall while dealing with a fractured right hand that caused him to spend a majority of the last four months pitching in the minors.The left-hander was recalled for his last start Aug. 27 when he allowed an unearned run in 5 1/3 innings of Oakland's 5-4 win over Houston before he pitched three scoreless innings of relief in the Athletics' 6-5 loss to Seattle in his last appearance Sept. 2.He's getting the start in this contest in place of Jason Hammel, who is on paternity leave for the birth of his second child."It's an acquired taste to pitch out of the bullpen and then go into the rotation knowing that you're expected to throw a certain amount of pitches," manager Bob Melvin told MLB's official website. "He's done it numerous times for us this year and had success doing it, so if there's anybody that you feel confident in that type of role, it's him."Pomeranz is 4-3 with a 2.85 ERA in nine starts this season, allowing two runs or fewer seven times.He'll be opposed by Jerome Williams, who has been solid since being claimed off waivers from Texas on Aug. 10. Williams is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in seven starts with the Phillies after allowing just an unearned run and three hits in 7 2/3 innings Monday in a 1-0 loss at San Diego."It's tough," Williams said. "I just wanted to keep putting up zeros (and) hopefully the guys could get some runs."The right-hander made three relief appearances this season against the A's while with Houston and started against them July 25 as a Ranger. He gave up one run in six innings of a 4-1 victory in that outing.Williams looks to help Philadelphia avoid a sixth defeat in seven tries after Ryan Howard's homer accounted for the only run Friday. He could be facing an A's lineup that includes Josh Reddick, who missed his second straight game Friday with a sore neck he suffered tripping over first base Wednesday.Melvin said he's hopeful Reddick will be ready for this contest.
Jerome Williams defeated the Athletics today pitching for the Phillies. Earlier this season he defeated Oakland while pitching for both the Astros and the Rangers.
According to Elias, Williams became the first pitcher in major league history with wins against one opponent for three different teams in a single season.