OAKLAND -- A's manager Bob Melvin sat down for his pre-game media session with the Rangers-Royals game playing on the video monitors at the Coliseum this morning.
"Looks like it's not only scoreboard-watching today," he said. "Big-screen watching."
It's the regular-season home finale for the A's today, and they're within one win or a Rangers loss of clinching the American League West. It's also about as nice out -- sunny and warm -- as it was rainy and cold yesterday.
"All those things combined would make this an ideal day to win a baseball game," Melvin said.
The Rangers and Royals are still scoreless after three innings. With the possibility the A's could find out during their game that they've clinched the West, Melvin was asked if he would want that acknowledged somehow at the Coliseum. He skirted the question, along with a question about the importance of nailing down home-field advantage at least for the opening round of the playoffs.
Melvin, it turns out, is pretty superstitious. He said that started during his major-league playing days and has gotten more extreme as he has moved into coaching and managing, where he has little control over what happens on the field. They include "some weird superstitions with my pens" and "a bit of a candy superstition," he said.
As for his superstitions as a player: "I had a Don 'Magic Man' Majkowski T-shirt that I would wear and it seemed like I had two this every time I wore it. But I couldn't wear it more than once a week or I would wear it out."
So no answers from Melvin this morning about clinching celebrations or the possibility of resting players before the playoffs. "If we win today," he said, "we can start thinking about all those possibilities."
Here's the A's lineup today against the Twins:
And the Twins' lineup against Sonny Gray:
* A couple pre-game items: First baseman Nate Freiman (abdominal strain) may be out through the Angels series, though Melvin said Freiman hopefully will resume hitting and baseball activities by then.
Also, Alberto Callaspo is not in the lineup despite his four-hit game Saturday. Melvin acknowledged it may be a little out of the ordinary, but there's a good chance Callaspo could be used to pinch-hit, and it reinforces the idea that the A's will stick with the way they've designed their team -- to platoon.
* Gray made his first major-league start on Aug. 10, a little more than two months ago. Today, he's starting a potential postseason clincher. The rookie has allowed two or fewer earned runs in all but one of his eight big-league starts, including his Sept. 11 start in Minnesota, in which he gave up two runs on four hits in five innings.
-- Matt Kawahara