The American League Wild Card race is wide open. The Yankees are in free fall, while the Red Sox are battling a COVID outbreak. it is a perfect opportunity for the Oakland A’s to make up ground and find their way back into a playoff berth.
That was especially the case over the weekend. The A’s had a weekend series against the last place Rangers, a prime opportunity to make up ground in the Wild Card hunt. Instead, they lost two of the three games in the series, remaining three games out in the chase for the postseason.
Oakland A’s miss prime opportunity to move up standings
The A’s were seemingly in a good spot for those contests. Cole Irvin may have his occasional struggles, but he has been a solid pitcher overall this season. James Kaprielian has been a revelation as a rookie even if he may be hitting a bit of a wall. With the Rangers fully committed to a rebuild, the opening was there.
Both of the losses were winnable games. The A’s held a 6-2 lead heading into the eighth inning on Saturday as Irvin fired seven strong innings. However, a recurring theme reared up once again – the A’s bullpen imploded in the eighth inning. Sergio Romo got the first out, then started to get hammered. Andrew Chafin entered to attempt to get the last out of the inning to allow the A’s to escape with the lead, but gave up a game winning homer to Johan Heim.
Sunday involved a different, but familiar, scenario. Kaprielian struggled, allowing four runs in his 3.2 innings. This time, the bullpen, fronted led by Daulton Jefferies, held the Rangers off the board. Instead, the offense only scratched out three runs as they had just six baserunners all game.
These were the types of games that the A’s needed to win, especially at this point in the season. Every one of these games will make a major difference, especially with just three weeks left in the season. Those losses could haunt the A’s when the season comes to an end.
The Oakland A’s had a prime opportunity to make up ground in the Wild Card chase. Instead, their season long issues reared their heads again.