The Oakland A’s have clinched a playoff berth with their victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday.
Coming into the shortened 2020 season, the biggest question for the Oakland A’s was how they would start. Fans and the media alike wondered if they would see the April Athletics or the postseason push Athletics. The A’s quickly answered with a hot start which led to a clinched playoff berth nine games before the end of the season.
The A’s went into Friday night’s matchup against the San Francisco Giants with a nine game lead over the AL West third place Seattle Mariners. After a Mariners 6-1 loss to the San Diego Padres and an Oakland A’s win 6-0 over the Giants, the Athletics clinched a playoff spot.
Right now, the A’s are in prime position to emerge as the AL West winners. Besides the three games visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland will be facing teams with significantly worse records. The Athletics’ magic number to clinch the division is down to two.
On a night that the A’s needed a clutch performance, starter Chris Bassitt came through in a huge way. The workhorse right hander gave the Athletics 6.2 innings of scoreless pitching. Bassitt lowered his season ERA to 2.57 and further cemented his role as one of the best pitchers on the staff.
Offensively, the A’s had an efficient and productive night. Matt Olson broke the game open in the 3rd inning with a three run blast to right field that put the A’s up 4-0.
Yusmeiro Petit proved his worth as Bob Melvin’s fix it man once again and came out of the bullpen for one clutch out in the 7th inning after Bassitt left the game. The veteran righty has been arguably the most valuable pitcher in the 2020 season, behind closer Liam Hendriks.
Tommy La Stella has continued to serve as an effective leadoff hitter, a role that began during the absence of shortstop Marcus Semien. La Stella went 2-4 on Friday night and continued to add contact hitting to an offense that has suffered in their overall batting average this season.
Oakland has two more games against the Giants, three more against the Dodgers and will close out the season at home with a four game series at home against the Seattle Mariners. The Oakland A’s are still within striking distance of the number one spot in the American League with the Tampa Bay Rays only 1.5 games ahead of the Athletics.