With nine games left and 92 wins, the Oakland Athletics have their 97-win total from 2018 in their sights. But they should be thinking bigger.
When the Oakland Athletics were sitting at 19-25 on May 14 having just lost 3-4 to the Seattle Mariners, or when they were 34-34 on June 10 having lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, or even when they were 75-55 on August 25 after losing two in a row at home to the Giants, did anyone think they would be two games up in the AL Wild Card race with a solid shot at topping their 2018 record?
I didn’t, and yet here they are with nine games left, going 73-36 since May 14, 58-27 since June 10 and 17-6 since August 25, one of the hottest teams in baseball getting ready for one of their easiest nine-game stretches in the second half of the season.
For some historical context, the A’s have 10 100-win seasons in franchise history and two since the turn of the century, the last coming in 2002, when they did it twice in a row. They have won 97 games only 15 times and have done it in consecutive season eight times, but have lost 100 games 16 times.
With nine games left, the A’s have to go 8-1 to end the season to reach triple digits, which is serendipitous because they just went 8-1 in their past nine games against the Astros, Rangers and Royals, the one loss coming 5-6 in a devastating blown save to Kansas City. And with all their remaining games coming against Texas, LAA and Seattle – whom the A’s have gone a collective 31-17 against and 10-2 since the All-Star break – winning eight out of nine is absolutely in reach.
They will be facing the Angels without Mike Trout, who have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games and the Rangers, who have gone 4-6 and lost five in a row, in the next five games, including the final three home games this weekend against Texas.
The Oakland Athletics’ biggest challenge will come in their final series, a four-game set against the suddenly hot Seattle Mariners, who are 8-2 in their last 10 and in the midst of a five-game winning streak and who the A’s have gone 8-7 against this season. 13 of those games, however, came before the All-Star break, and the Green and Gold are 4-1 in the last five against the Mariners and 41-20 in the second half of the season.
The red-hot A’s have a real shot at triple digits, which would be a miraculous end to a regular season that seemed in jeopardy as few as three months ago.