ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was Brandon Moss who toned down talk of the A's postseason after Bartolo Colon's 1-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
He suggested any playoff talk while being 51/2 games up on the Rangers in the American League West with 14 to play was misguided.
"This is where we were with nine games to go last year," Moss said. "The season will be over when it's over."
His numbers were a little off -- the A's were five back with nine games to go in 2012 -- but Oakland did win the West.
And the A's did have a six-game lead in the West on July 29 this season, and seven games later were tied with Texas, so Oakland can't get too full of itself.
Still, the A's have won 15 of 19, and the Rangers only have one game left with the A's, Sunday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark.
So there is reason for the A's to at least plan for a future that includes the playoffs even as they follow manager Bob Melvin's dictates of never looking past the next game.
A month ago it was an open question whether Colon would be in the postseason rotation. He went on the disabled list because of a left groin injury Aug. 18 after back-to-back starts in which he had allowed 10 runs in just 62/3 innings.
Since his return, he has allowed three earned runs in four starts. Given what he has done, it is hard to see Colon not included in the postseason rotation. And the rotation is going to be tough to crack.
Colon is 16-6 with a 2.73 ERA. Sunday starter Jarrod Parker (11-6, 3.55) has won nine consecutive decisions and hasn't lost since May. Dan Straily is 4-0 in his past four starts with a 1.90 ERA. A.J. Griffin is also 4-0 in his past four starts, albeit with a 3.60 ERA.
"We've leaned on him all year," shortstop Jed Lowrie said of Colon. "If we're able to lean on him now, it makes it a lot easier on us. He looks real good. He did such a good job with their hitters, keeping guys off balance."
"He's come off the disabled list and he's been real good," Melvin said. "When he's pitching well like this, the other guys (in the rotation) don't think they have to do too much. Today, that was mid-June Bartolo. He had great command and good velocity."
Colon's fastball, which was in the high 80s just before he went on the disabled list, registered 96 on a couple of occasions Saturday.
"I'm not so much surprised at what he's done as I'm impressed," catcher Stephen Vogt said. "I'm impressed for him to be in the shape he's in. He threw his last pitch in the eighth inning just as fine as he was throwing in the first. It's important to see your pitchers continue to get better."
The 40-year-old Colon was able to work quickly Saturday, and that was thanks in large measure to his opponent, Texas starter Yu Darvish. Moss delivered an RBI double in the first, and neither team scored again.
Asked about the pitchers' duel, Colon, speaking through interpreter Ariel Prieto, said: "It's good for me to pitch fast. It means the hitters don't have a chance to think too much."
How good was Colon? He struck out Elvis Andrus in the fifth inning after the second of two singles by leadoff man Ian Kinsler. Colon came off the mound smiling, and not because of the strikeout.
"Kinsler apologized to me for getting two hits," Colon said with a grin.
The Rangers would get just two more, but no runs in Colon's eight innings. Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his 38th save.
"We seem to find one series that serves as a springboard," Melvin said when asked about the A's 66 second-half homers, one behind major league leader Washington over that stretch. "Last year it was the sweep in Minnesota (just after the All-Star break). This time it was the series in Detroit."
"I don't know if there is anything like that in this ballpark," Melvin said when asked if he would look for a lower-intensity game for Cook's next appearance. "He's yanking the fastball off the plate and missing with the slider away. Everybody goes through periods when they're not at their best."
W L GB
A's 87 61 --
Texas 81 66 51/2
A's (Jarrod Parker 11-6) at Texas (Martin Perez 9-4), 12:05 p.m. CSNCA