Oakland A’s facing projected dogfight for AL West

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 23: Elvis Andrus #17 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates with his teammates Ramon Laureano #22 and Seth Brown #15 after the Athletics defeated the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 23: Elvis Andrus #17 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates with his teammates Ramon Laureano #22 and Seth Brown #15 after the Athletics defeated the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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One would imagine that a 13 game winning streak would help put the Oakland A’s over the top in the AL West. It has put them atop the division, with a two game lead over the Mariners heading into Tuesday night. However, any lead cannot be considered safe with just one month having been played in the season.

That is certainly the case in the AL West. Even with the A’s tremendous start, the division is expected to be a dogfight. In fact, Fangraphs projects the A’s, Angels, and Astros to all finish within two games of each other, with the battle for the division heading into the final weekend of the season.

Oakland A’s to be in fight throughout 2021 season

Based on those projections, the A’s will fall in their quest to maintain the AL West crown. The Astros would finish at 88-74, one game better than Oakland at 87-75. That, however, would be good enough for a postseason berth as the A’s would finish one game better than the Angels to be the second Wild Card.

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The idea that Houston would make such a run seems unbelievable based on where the teams were just a few days ago. However, the Astros have come roaring back up the standings, and are currently back above .500. In fact, four teams in the division – the A’s, Angels, Astros, and Mariners – currently have a winning record.

It is reasonable to think that Houston would return to contention, and that the Angels would stick around all season as well. They appear to have actually found a pitching staff, although one month of action is hardly enough time to claim that their ongoing issues with the rotation have been solved.

But what is clear is that the A’s are not out of the woods when it comes to claiming the division for the second consecutive season. Unlike last year, when Oakland cruised to the division without much of a fight, the AL West will not be a pushover.

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The Oakland A’s will have a fight on their hands if they are going to win the AL West. Based on projections, three teams will finish within two games of each other.

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