It appeared as though the Oakland A’s would be relatively untested in their path to the AL West. While the Astros had bounced back from their rough stretch, the A’s were solidly in command of the division, pulling away from their rivals. And then, this past weekend happened.
The A’s have lost two consecutive games to the Yankees, including Sunday when Sean Murphy hit into a triple play to end the game. While they have gone 7-3 in their last ten games, that run has not been good enough as the Astros have won seven straight.
Oakland A’s getting company in AL West
It is not just the Astros. The Mariners are suddenly hot again, having won four consecutive games. Even the Angels are showing signs of fight and are hovering around .500. Although both teams are further behind in the standings, it is not outside the realm of possibility that they could surge up the standings.
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For now, the biggest concern would be the Astros. They are starting to get healthy again, as Framber Valdez has begun to look like the pitcher he was last season now that he is healthy. Both Jake Odorizzi and Lance McCullers Jr. are on the comeback trail, and are set to work in tandem until both are ready to claim spots in the rotation.
Meanwhile, the A’s have displayed some cracks recently. The middle of their bullpen is not what it had been, especially as Jesus Luzardo is practically unusable currently. Sergio Romo and Burch Smith have struggled for most of this season. The lineup is also slowing down, as Matt Chapman is still striking out far too often and Jed Lowrie has cooled down after his hot start to the year.
The A’s will bounce back. Even with their flaws, this is still a talented roster with a strong lineup and solid pitching staff. The Astros are a flawed team as well, although their improved health is allowing them to match the A’s atop the division.
The Oakland A’s suddenly have company atop the AL West. The Houston Astros are getting healthy and have tied for the division lead.