Scott Kazmir takes the mound for the Athletics in game 1 versus the Mets. Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight the Oakland Athletics begin a lengthy two game series against the New York Mets. You know them, the guys that have Bartolo Colon now. Typically this series would be nothing more than an inter-league place holder for this weekend’s epic battle against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Who Say Ni but in the wake of a tragically brutal two weeks, this series may end up being the most important series of the year.
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The Angels are now a half game up in the American League West and with a game on Thursday, which the A’s have off, that half game will be resolved one way or the other. The worst case scenario is that Oakland goes into the Angels series three games back, best case scenario they go in 2 games up and a mix would have them either tied or one game on either side of first.
Going into the Angels series with a 2 game lead means that as long as Oakland gets one out of three, they’ll end the week a game up in first place. We can no longer say, “there’s a lot of baseball left” because it’s simply not true. A four or five game deficit at this point is very difficult to overcome, not impossible as the A’s have proven before, but very difficult. This is the pennant race and these games are must-win games.
In August the Athletics have maintained an average of .224 ranking them 29th in all of baseball ahead of only, you guessed it, the New York Mets who have an average of .206. Not only is it time for the Athletics to snap their losing streak, the longest streak since May of last season, but they need to pounce on a team that really brings no threat to the O.co this week. Here are the number for August for both struggling teams.
|62 Runs||46 Runs|
|63 Runs Allowed||100 Runs Allowed|
|3.6 Runs per Game||2.5 Runs per Game|
|3.7 Allowed per Game||5.5 Allowed per Game|
As you can surmise from the side by side comparison, The Mets are not as good as The Athletics. In August they share similar W/L records but the Athletics have scored 16 more runs and given up 37 fewer. Not only is this series a must win philosophically, it’s a must win statistically especially with Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija taking the mound. The two all-star pitchers facing the Mets this week combine for a 2.99 ERA compared to the two pitchers facing the Athletics (Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler) who combine for a 3.59 ERA.
Of course, to say this is the most important series is a bit hyperbolic but to all of those folks who dismissed losses in April with “there’s still plenty of baseball” remember this, two more wins per month and the Athletics would be sitting here at 81-43 (which is closer to the teams’ Pythagorean W-L) and this series would be, maybe, the least important series of the year. Just sayin’
Get out to the O.co and cheer on our boys in green and gold as they try to reclaim the first place standing that is rightfully theirs. My predictions:
Game 1 – A’s 4 – Mets 0
Game 2 – A’s 3 – Mets 2