Tommy Milone has had trouble finding a consistent groove start to start this season. One start he looks incredible, almost ace-like, other starts he looks like a batting practice pitcher. Tonight’s start against cross bay rivals the San Francisco Giants will prove vital moving forward, not only for him but for the A’s. The confidence that can be gained from winning a series against a rival who also is the defending world champions will propel the Green and Gold into a deceivingly difficult month. Even though the A’s can lose tonight and win the series tomorrow afternoon they will do better to win tonight and take their chances on a sweep tomorrow. Let’s take a look at why June will be more difficult than the schedule shows and what the A’s can expect from the teams they’ll face.
May 24, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Tommy Milone (57) reacts after giving up a home run to Houston Astros third basemanMatt Dominguez
(30) during the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago White Sox: May 31-June2 (home), June 6-9 (away)……The White Sox bring a tough pitching staff and a powerful offense. While the A’s have always played well against the South Siders they will have to be careful to not slip up early on in the month. If they do they will be playing catch up against tough competition.
Milwaukee Brewers: June 3-5…… The Brewers bring what could be considered the best offense in baseball. While the A’s pitching staff has seemed to turn the corner away from their recent struggles the Brewers bring the type of offense to the table that can send a pitching staff into a slump.
New York Yankees: June 11-13….. The A’s and Yankees always have epic battles. That continued early on this season when the Green and Gold took two out of three from the Bronx Bombers. The A’s will need to replicate their success at home from last season when they swept the Yankees in four games.
Seattle Mariners: June 14-16 (home), June 21-23 (away)….. The A’s and Mariners alternate who dominates the season series every year. This year the Mariners seem to have the upper hand. The A’s will need to take two out of three from the Mariners. It may seem drastic to say a team has to win two series against one team so early on in a season, but the A’s will need to have a record well above .500 against the division if they want to take down the Rangers.
Texas Rangers: June 17-20….. The A’s have been chasing the Rangers since the beginning of the season. If they have handled their business by this point in the month then they may have a chance to take the division lead by winning the series. That would be crucial leading into July, the All-Star Break, and the trade deadline.
Cincinnati Reds: June 25-26…..The Reds have one of the best records in baseball. That’s what happens when you have a good rotation that stays healthy and an elite offense. It is only two games but they will be important to at least split leading into the last series of the month.
St. Louis Cardinals: June 28-30…..The team that currently holds the best record in baseball makes a trip to the Coliseum. Their a team a lot of people are talking about due to their amazing scouting and timely free agent signings and trades. This will be a crucial series in the A’s season. Winning a series against the defending champions is huge, but beating the current best team in baseball is even bigger.
The month of June, in my opinion, will determine the A’s season. They play division rivals and playoff caliber teams. If they can finish the month winning at least 6 of these series they will be in great contention to repeat as AL West champions come October. It all starts Wednesday night with Tommy Milone at AT&T Park against the Giants.