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Athletics' Bullpen Has to be Exhausted

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    OAKLAND, CA - JULY 19: Pitcher Ryan Cook #48 and catcher Derek Norris #36 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates defeating the New York Yankees 4 to 3 at O.co Coliseum on July 19, 2012 in Oakland, California. The Athletics won the game 4-3. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    For the second straight night on Tuesday, the Oakland Athletics' improbable trip through the 2012 season continued thanks to some brilliant work by its bullpen in shutting down the Texas Rangers from the seventh inning on.

    That set up today's game between the teams which will see the winner claim the AL West title and the loser be stuck playing the new wild card play-in game on Friday, not a situation you want to be in, especially if you're the Rangers who have led the AL West since April 11.

    With all that's on the line, you have to think everyone's adrenaline will be at an all-time high. Maybe Adrian Beltre won't feel that nagging scar tissue in his side. But he's not the only one that's going to be running on adrenaline, as the Athletics' bullpen has to be running on fumes now.

    Tuesday night's game marked the fourth appearance in as many days for A's closer Grant Balfour. Same goes for their all-star set-up man, Ryan Cook. Sean Doolittle, their seventh-inning guy? He's gone four times in the last five days. That's just not a good thing. We usually talk about going three days straight being too much.

    With the Rangers' bullpen fully rested (thanks to having not won a game since Sunday) if the game gets into the late innings and is tight, it should heavily favor the Rangers. But then again, we've been saying that about the Rangers and A's for months now and the A's haven't gone away.

    Here goes nothin'.