Oakland A’s struggles against winning teams getting worrisome

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 19: Manager Bob Melvin #6 of the Oakland Athletics takes the ball from starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo #44 in the top of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 19, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 19: Manager Bob Melvin #6 of the Oakland Athletics takes the ball from starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo #44 in the top of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 19, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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The Oakland A’s are the second seed in the American League, but that may be due to who they have played more than anything else.

In theory, the Oakland A’s should be pleased with this season. Despite having to pause the year due to their positive COVID-19 test, the A’s hold a 22-13 record, tied for the second seed in the American League as they enter play on Saturday. The A’s are just three games behind the Rays for the top overall seed in the AL, and are seemingly in a great position to make the playoffs.

Yet, there are reasons for concern. The A’s have seemingly struggled against the better teams they have faced, with their pitching staff unable to match up. Friday’s 7-0 loss to the Padres was a case in point – one of the better teams in the National League came into Oakland and dispatched the A’s rather easily.

This points to a possible issue with the A’s moving forward. They are currently 3-5 against teams with a winning record. The A’s have two more games against the Padres, five games against the Astros, and three games against the Dodgers still to come on the schedule.

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This weekend’s series against the Padres was considered much watch television. It was a possible World Series preview, the team that did the most to improve at the trade deadline facing off against a team whose ability to produce in the clutch has given them a special feel.

Instead, that first game was a disappointment. While Jesus Luzardo was able to hold the Padres in check through four innings, he was unable to escape the fifth, allowing four runs in that frame. The A’s managed just four hits throughout the game, with Robbie Grossman‘s fourth inning double the only extra base hit.

The A’s have done what they need to do – beat up on the bad teams that they have faced. And it is possible that, with ten more games against teams that currently have a winning record, this narrative changes. But the fact remains that the only three wins that the A’s have gotten against a team with a winning record have come against a depleted Astros roster.

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For now, the Oakland A’s struggles against teams with a winning record is a bit troublesome. It is too early to panic, but it is still a warning sign as the playoffs approach.

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