Oakland Athletics dominating AL West in early going
By David Hill
Two weeks does not a season make. Nonetheless, these two weeks have been a statement by the Oakland Athletics.
The Oakland Athletics have traditionally gotten off to slow starts before turning it on in the second half. That had been the case at the beginning of 2020 as well, as they began the season with a 3-4 record. However, with the 60 game season, the A’s could not afford to sputter out of the gate, as they may not have enough time left to be able to rebound and head into the postseason.
Well, the A’s appeared to get that message. They have now won eight consecutive games en route to an early 11-4 record. Although their offense has struggled at times, with their 64 runs scored tied for 15th in the majors, they have allowed sixth fewest runs of any team that has played a full schedule this year.
That combination has led to an extremely successful start to the year. Not only are the A’s the only team in the AL West to currently have a record over .500, they also have the largest lead of any division leader. Heading into Sunday’s action, the A’s hold a 4.5 game lead over the Houston Astros.
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As impressive as this start has been, it is easy to imagine that the A’s are only starting to find their way. The offense had been a disaster for much of the season, with only Ramon Laureano and Robbie Grossman posting above average numbers as regular members of the lineup.
However, over the past seven games, the bats have begun to heat up. Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty, who had combined for one hit in the first week of the season, have broken out of their slumber. Matt Olson only has four hits, but three have gone over the fence. Even second base is starting to show signs of life offensively, as Tony Kemp has six hits and five walks in his last 17 plate appearances.
There are still some concerns. The A’s do not want to peak too early and burn out in the playoffs. While a hot start could be enough for the A’s to coast into the postseason, they have far more there for the taking. They could well break the Astros stranglehold on the division, and be in the running for the top overall seed on the AL side of the bracket.
The Oakland Athletics have dominated the AL West thus far. Although it is still early, their 4.5 game lead is impressive.