Despite several injuries to the pitching staff, and disappointing performances around the roster, the Oakland A’s remain atop the AL West. Their victory on Sunday gave the A’s a 25-17 record, keeping them a half game up on the Astros. While there is still a lot of baseball to be played, the A’s have to feel good about where they stand.
That is particularly the case when one looks at the A’s strength of schedule. They are one of only two teams with a top ten record to have a strength of schedule that also ranks in the top ten, joining the Blue Jays in that group.
Oakland A’s impressively navigating difficult schedule
That strength of schedule certainly makes sense. The A’s have had to navigate the AL East, facing the entire division aside from the Yankees. Oakland has already faced the Rays for both of their series this year, as the defending AL champions are still a strong team despite losses from their roster.
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The second place Astros, meanwhile, have faced the 23rd toughest schedule. They have had just three series against the AL East, opposed to the A’s six. Houston has also gotten to face the Rockies and avoid the Rays entirely thus far, while Oakland has faced the Dodgers and a suddenly viable Diamondbacks team.
The easier games will come for Oakland. Yes, they still have a few more series against the AL East, but they will also start to get some of the easier teams in their own division that Houston has beaten up on. That will come after the upcoming series against Houston, when the A’s get to face the Angels and Mariners a combined 13 times before their next off day.
It will also get easier as the A’s start to get healthy. Jesus Luzardo will hopefully be back by the end of the month, and A.J. Puk can help solidify the bullpen. Chad Pinder has returned which will make a difference in the lineup. And that path will get easier soon.
The Oakland A’s have had a difficult schedule this year. They have navigated it well thus far, as they remain atop the AL West despite injury and disappointments.