Even though it is 29 games without a homer for Khris Davis, the slugger feels pretty confident about where the Oakland Athletics are headed.
The Milwaukee Brewers are also optimistic about their chances even though their pitching situation is muddled due to injuries.
Davis and the A's hope to continue their second-half surge Tuesday night when they host Milwaukee in the opener of a three-game interleague series.
Oakland enters the series at 60-47 and the occupant of the American League's second wild-card spot. The Athletics are three games behind the Cleveland Indians for the first wild-card spot, a half-game up on the Tampa Bay Rays and one game in front of the Boston Red Sox.
The Athletics are 24-11 since June 17 and 41-22 since May 16 -- the latter tied with the New York Yankees for the best record in the majors in that span. They salvaged a four-game split against the Texas Rangers with a 6-5 win Sunday when Davis drew a bases-loaded walk to win it in the ninth after Matt Olson hit the game-tying single earlier in the inning.
"Winning close ballgames like today tells you a lot about teams," Davis told reporters. "I like where we're at. We're gonna go to the playoffs this year."
Oakland is making a second-half surge similar to last season despite Davis being stuck at 16 homers since June 18. During the homerless drought, he is hitting .183 (19-for-104), but despite the skid, Oakland is 18-11 in that stretch.
Milwaukee is making its first trip to Oakland since June 22, 2016. At 56-51, the Brewers are one game behind the National League Central co-leaders, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, and they also are in a tight NL wild-card race.
The Brewers are making the trip after an uneven 3-3 homestand against the Cincinnati Reds and the Cubs. Milwaukee allowed 20 runs in losing the first two games against the Reds but took two of three from the Cubs over the weekend.
Milwaukee is 8-4 in its past 12 games, a span that has seen ace Brandon Woodruff go on the injured list with a strained left oblique and Jhoulys Chacin land on the injured list because of a strained oblique. Milwaukee's team ERA is 4.68 after Zach Davies was knocked around for seven runs Sunday in an 11-4 loss to Chicago.
While the Brewers' pitching remains an area needing an obvious upgrade due to inconsistency, Christian Yelich is delivering a steady performance of late. He is hitting .397 (25-for-63) with five homers, 13 RBI and a 1.187 OPS during a 16-game hitting streak.
"We're confident with the guys we have, but obviously have been able to see what additions can do," Yelich told reporters. "Last year is an example. But that's out of our control here in the clubhouse. We really don't have any say whether that happens or not. So we're riding with the guys we've got until we're told otherwise."
Milwaukee's pitching was so muddled that it had not announced a starting pitcher for Tuesday -- even after acquiring right-hander Jordan Lyles from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday in exchange for minor league righty Cody Ponce.
It will not be Gio Gonzalez, who is slated to throw in order to test his shoulder after leaving his Friday start due to tightness. It could be Adrian Houser, who is 4-4 with a 4.19 ERA overall, but is 0-4 with a 7.83 ERA in six starts.
Oakland will start Chris Bassitt (7-5, 4.09 ERA), who is 5-4 with a 5.23 ERA in his past 12 starts. He last pitched Wednesday, when he allowed four runs on five hits in six innings of a 4-2 loss at Houston.
Bassitt is 0-3 with a 3.98 ERA in six career interleague starts, but he has never faced the Brewers.
--Field Level Media
Brewers make rare visit to Oakland
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