The Pesky A’s Who Won’t Go Away


Back in July, I wrote about how the Rangers were playing worse than the A’s and the Angels in that particular month. I mentioned that I didn’t think the A’s would keep it up, but if they did, the pennant race would be a tight one. What I meant was tight between the Angels and the Rangers with the A’s getting close but not close enough. I really thought the A’s would fall back. They haven’t yet, and I’m not so sure they will anymore. In fact, the Angels had a mini meltdown in August while the A’s kept winning, and the Rangers came out of a slump. I didn’t see that coming, and with just a 3-game difference between first and second place in the AL West, I hope the A’s go back to being the A’s soon.

Oakland went 19-5 in July and 18-10 in August. In those two months, and their batting average never reached .260. The Rangers went 9-14 in July and 19-10 in August.  July was the huge difference maker in the division. And the A’s just haven’t gone away since. Luckily, the Rangers struggles ended in July, and August brought a winning record. The A’s just kept on keepin’ on. There must be something in the Bay Area water. I don’t know. The A’s (and Giants) are rolling along making a name for themselves this season. At the time of this writing, the A’s are currently riding a 9-game win streak, though, while the Rangers and Angels have gone 6-3 in their last nine. 6-3 is not bad by any means, but it’s not 9-0. 
Twenty-ninth in batting average and 24th in on-base percentage doesn’t suggest the makings of a good team, but the A’s are winning anyway. The A’s are winning with pitching  —aside from that 20-2 win vs. the Red Sox. Oakland is 3rd in the MLB in ERA with a 3.14 and 4th in BAA at .242. While the Rangers are ranked 1st in almost every batting category, they are ranked 12th in ERA and 9th in BAA. That’s a decent position to be in, as long as your division rivals aren’t significantly higher. Because as Rangers fans know all-too-well, good pitching beats good hitting every time.

I suppose one can hope that with the loss of Brandon Inge, the A’s will lose ground, but they still have Reddick, Crisp and Cespedes, who are all above average players. All, in fact, are better than Brandon Inge this year by a significant margin. (I never put much stock in Brandon Inge, but some people do.) They still have a bit of offense left. One could’ve also hoped with the loss of Bartolo Colon that the A’s would have lost ground, but they didn’t. The A’s answer for that is Brandon McCarthy, Tommy Milone, and Jarrod Parker who all have sub-4.00 ERAs, along with a surprisingly solid bullpen. With the Angels pitching, starting and relieving, falling apart recently, I don’t see them regaining 2nd place. So, I don’t see the A’s going anywhere.

We all want to believe the A’s will start being the A’s we assumed they’d be all season. We all look at the numbers and say, “how?” Everyone says they aren’t worried about Oakland yet, but when should you be? They are 3 games back, and while the Rangers have been playing good baseball lately, the A’s are playing better. Truthfully, I am a little worried right now, but I’d be more worried about the A’s if their schedule in September were easier. They face the Tigers, Yankees, Orioles, Rangers, and Angels soon, and they’re coming off playing the Red Sox and Indians. If their pitching keeps it up, though, the last three games of the season could mean a lot for the Rangers and A’s (they play each other). Needless to say, in a shocking turn of events, the Rangers fan base is going to root very hard for the Angels for the next three days. 

Emily Cates is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. You can reach her at or on Twitter at @EmLikesBaseball.
Emily Cates

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