A Storm Gathers To The West


It happened Saturday night as I watched Scott Feldman turn in yet another subpar performance. The Texas hurler, who has been in a tailspin since early August, gave up 6 runs to the offensively challenged Mariners and was pulled after only 2.2 innings of work. Texas did crawl back into the game, but the bullpen lost the tie late and Seattle ultimately got the win.

Meanwhile, two time zones over, the A’s were busy putting up 5 unanswered runs on Baltimore and ensuring a series win against the O’s.

That, friends, is when I started to worry about Oakland. That’s when it became official.

Rangers fans have spent most of the season reveling in almost obscene amounts of Angelfreude. After hearing all about how Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson were going to be the difference in the AL West, we pointed and laughed at Anaheim’s miserable 8-15 start.

The Angels did make it interesting for a while, but August 1st seemed to change everything. The Halos lost their swagger, the world was finally in order, and we were ready to put this thing on autopilot until October. 

All the while, the A’s kept truckin’ along.

Through their first 86 games, Oakland played exactly .500 ball. Since then they’ve gone 41-20 (a .672 winning percentage). They were 13 games back after losing a series to the Rangers in late June, but now they trail by only 3.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably regarded the A’s surge as not much more than a cute story.

They traded away all of their quality arms in the offseason, so they weren’t going to be any good anyway. For a while they weren’t, but a 19-5 July got them right back in the thick of it.
Still, they were relying on all that young talent and one good month doesn’t make a season and they had a tough September schedule ahead and they were bound to fade eventually.

But they haven’t faded. They haven’t faded at all.

They just keep winning. Even after Bartolo Colon’s suspension and Brandon McCarthy’s injury, they just won’t go away. They refuse to fall out of the race.

Sometimes that happens. A team that has no business winning it all might win it all anyway (see: 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks). You can call it a “team of destiny” if you want, but I see it more as a team that’s just too stupid to know that they shouldn’t be this good.

Don’t misunderstand me, though. I don’t write this to bring everybody down or to incite some kind of panic. I certainly don’t want all of you to break for the shelter and hunker down there for the next 2 weeks. The Rangers are still in 1st place, mostly because they’re a great team.

But the A’s, too, are a great team, and the time for ignoring them has passed.

With 15 games left to play, Texas and Oakland will face off 7 more times. There is a storm coming, friends, and it will be up to our guys to weather it if they intend to retain the West.

Press on, Rangers fans. 

Mike Luna is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. He can be reached at Mike.Luna@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @twbbg.
Mike Luna

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