Oakland Athletics: The Road To 75 Wins
By Joey Lopez
With the help of Matt Olson, the A’s have been playing better and have an opportunity to surpass last season’s win total.
September has been much kinder to the Oakland Athletics. With a lineup infused with young talent including Matt Olson and Matt Chapman, the A’s have enjoyed a productive month.
With the season coming to an end, the A’s will enter Tuesday’s contest against the Tigers with 67 wins. Last year, the A’s limped to the finish line with 69 wins.
The A’s have 12 games remaining and with a energized offense, capturing 75 wins seems like a realistic possibility. A few things would need to go Oakland’s way, of course, but Bob Melvin‘s crew has been playing considerably better in September.
The A’s took game one on Monday night with help from Olson and Jed Lowrie. Olson hit his 22nd homer on Monday and has been the driving force behind Oakland’s surging offense.
Oakland will roll with Daniel Gossett (4-9, 5.02 ERA) on Tuesday and Daniel Mengden (1-1, 4.30 ERA) in Wednesday’s matinee.
Gossett was solid in his last start against Boston and should match up well against Detroit’s Chad Bell. Mengden’s last start was impressive as he pitched the A’s first complete game this season against the Phillies.
Mengden’s performance was inspiring, especially for the young right-hander. His complete game shutout will go down as one of the team’s brightest moments this season.
Verdict: Look for the A’s to leave Detroit with 68 wins.
TEXAS/SEATTLE AT OAKLAND
The A’s will welcome the Rangers and Mariners to the Coliseum for the final time this season. The six-game home stand will be crucial for the A’s and their quest for 75 wins.
Kendall Graveman (5-4, 4.39 ERA) will likely start the home stand for the A’s and his performance should help set the tone.
The A’s swept the Rangers during their last meeting back in August. If Graveman and Sean Manaea (11-10, 4.56 ERA) can provide solid starts, the A’s should match up well against the Rangers once again in Oakland.
Seattle, though, may be a different story. The Mariners are currently on the hunt for the AL’s second Wild Card spot and could still be in contention when the visit the Coliseum.
The A’s were swept earlier this month in Seattle. Oakland will need strong pitching and timely hitting if they have any shot of taking their series against Seattle.
Verdict: The A’s will go 4-2 during their home stand and leave the Coliseum with 72 wins.
OAKLAND AT TEXAS
The A’s will finish the year in Texas against the Rangers. Unlike a few years ago, this year will not end with Sonny Gray pitching the A’s into the playoffs. Instead, the A’s will be aiming for a smaller goal, but a goal worth pursuing nonetheless.
75 is the magic number for the A’s and while it may not punch their ticket into the playoffs, it would be a significant step in the right direction. They enter Tuesday with 67 wins, but with a renewed sense of confidence, finishing the year 8-4 is not impossible.
Look for the A’s to finish the year with 75 wins and plenty of optimism for the future.