Melvin's platoon system a key to winning the division

ANAHEIM -- The A's remain in the hunt for the best record in the American League, though it's very much a possibility they wind up sharing that honor with the Red Sox.

Oakland enters Wednesday one game behind Boston with four games to play. But the A's hold the advantage in a tiebreaker scenario, according to research done by the team's media relations staff.

The first tiebreaker is head to head, and the A's and Red Sox split their six games. The second tiebreaker is based on intradivision success, and if the clubs finish with identical records on the season, the best Boston can do is tie Oakland in that category. That also holds true for the third tiebreaker, decided by their records against American League clubs.

The fourth tiebreaker is success in the last half of intraleague games, so the final 71 American League games. Oakland is currently 42-25 in that stretch, compared to Boston's 40-29 ledger. There is no scenario where the Red Sox can overcome that deficit without finishing the season with a better overall record than the A's.

Thus, the A's would be awarded the No. 1 seed, not only giving them home-field advantage throughout all playoff rounds but also a matchup with the winner of the Wild Card Game in the AL Division Series.

This is a significant edge, though if Boston were to hang on to that first seed, the A's entered Tuesday with a magic number of three over Detroit to finish with the second-best record in the AL, which would ensure them of home-field advantage in ALDS.

Freiman's availability impacts A's playoff roster

HOU@OAK: Freiman grounds an RBI single up the middle

ANAHEIM -- Nate Freiman is one step closer to returning from an abdominal strain, though the infielder's setback doesn't bode well for his chances of earning a spot on the A's postseason roster.

That's why catcher Derek Norris has been instructed to take grounders at first base.

"I hope he doesn't have to factor into that position," manager Bob Melvin said on Tuesday. "It was just based on the fact that Nate is not active for us right now. Just having someone else take some ground balls."

Freiman, meanwhile, took part in tee work and soft toss on Tuesday afternoon, and he could potentially take batting practice inside the cages in the next few days. Whether he gets into a game before Sunday's regular-season finale is unknown, and if he's left off the postseason roster, the A's could very well end up taking three catchers.

Beyond that, Melvin isn't revealing anything about his roster for the American League Division Series. When asked if he could on Tuesday, the A's manager smiled and said, "Brandon Moss will be on the postseason roster."

Worth noting

• Catcher John Jaso, taking part in his first game action since landing on the disabled list with a concussion in late July, went 1-for 2 with a pair of walks at designated hitter in an Instructional League game on Tuesday. If all continues to go well, he could join the team for workouts leading up the postseason next week, though it's unlikely he'll be on the playoff roster.

• Melvin said the A's will take Monday off, before holding their first workout Tuesday. He is considering holding a simulated game on one of the workout days prior to Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday, Oct. 4.