I mentioned in an article yesterday how Josh Donaldson is the team’s MVP and how his season has mirrored the A’s season with the idea that the season has been somewhat of a rollercoaster. Also, earlier in the month I outlined the A’s schedule for August and how it could dictate whether or not the A’s might reach the postseason again in 2013 and repeat as AL West champions. With the month of August nearing an end and in the midst of the roughest patch of the season lets take a reflective look back at the month and the season as a whole.
The A’s endured a small rough patch to begin the season then got hot quick. They dominated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and made the Houston Astros look like a Double-A rather than the Triple-A team they more resemble (that is no offense to the Astros by the way). They beat the Astros so many times there was talk at one point that they could go 19-0 on the season. The A’s also held their own against the pesky Seattle Mariners and the powerful Texas Rangers. They beat the National League down in interplay and got wins against some tough teams out of the AL East. There was only one thing that could slow down a team that was on a roll such as the A’s were, the All Star break.
Since the All Star break the A’s have gone 19-19 (.500) and have seen their 2 game lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL West slip to a 3 game deficit. While they still hold the second wild card spot that is not a position they want to be in. They trail the Tampa Bay Rays by a half game as it stands. That would mean Oakland travels cross-country to St. Petersburg to play a one game play-in presumably against tough left-hander David Price. That would mean Manager Bob Melvin would probably enlist his right handed hitting platoon: Chris Young at DH, Alberto Callaspo at second, Nate Freiman at first, and Derek Norris as the catcher. This obviously presumes that everyone is healthy at the time. While that is not a bad lineup the left-handed hitting platoon is much better offensively and defensively. This makes winning the AL West crucial to the A’s deep playoff run dreams.
The month of August has been the toughest month for the A’s in over a year. They’ve dealt with injuries, slumps, and tough road trips and yet are still afloat. With three games against Tampa Bay and three games against Texas at the Coliseum over the course of the next six days the A’s hold their playoff positioning and lives in their own hands. No one thought the A’s had a shot against the Detroit Tigers in their four game road series, especially after losing a tough series against the Baltimore Orioles. Even with an excruciating loss on Thursday the A’s have a chance to do something special yet again this September. This time they may be the ones in control. They certainly aren’t surprising anyone anymore.