A’s beat Rangers to clinch berth, eliminate Angels, Rays from contention

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The A’s are going back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

Behind rookie Jarrod Parker, Oakland beat Texas 4-3 on Monday to clinch at least a wild card berth and eliminate the Angels and Rays from the mix for postseason spots.

With Detroit also winning tonight, it’s now set that the A’s, Orioles, Rangers, Tigers and Yankees will be the five teams representing the AL in the postseason. However, only the Tigers have clinched their division. The A’s could still win the AL West and perhaps finish with the league’s best record if they sweep the Rangers.

The  Oakland bullpen, so solid all season, came up big again tonight, as Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour combined to pitch three hitless innings in relief of Parker. Balfour struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth to earn his 23rd save.

Oakland’s offensive star was Coco Crisp, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and two runs scored. The Rangers got homers from both Michael Young and Mike Napoli, but it wasn’t enough in a game in which they combined to strike out 11 times.

Ian Kinsler could be traded this week

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Tigers general manager Al Avila said today that he may trade Ian Kinsler during the Winter Meetings.

The Tigers are rebuilding to it makes sense that they trade the veteran Kinsler. Earlier this offseason he had been linked to the Mets and Angels. There is a lot of competition for the Tigers in trading Kinsler, though, as the Marlins are thought to be shopping Starlin Castro. Neil Walker is likewise available as a free agent.

Kinsler, 35, batted .236/.313/.412 with 22 homers and 14 steals over 139 games this past season. He’s owed $11 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract. He can probably be obtained for the cost of the contract.

In other news, Kinsler wears number 3 for the Tigers, who today announced that they will retire number 3 for Alan Trammell, who was just elected to the Hall of Fame. A Kinsler trade would, at the very least, save the team an awkward conversation.