On Sunday, with a little help from Justin Maxwell and the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland A’s clinched the American League West for the second consecutive year. Again, the team that was doubted had proved critics wrong. Although the A’s weren’t projected to lose 100 games as they were in 2012, they were still seen by some as the third best team in the AL West, behind the high-rolling Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers.
After the champagne and beer bottles were sprayed and drank, the hugs and victory laps were done, reality set in. The regular season’s not over. Unlike last season when the A’s won the west on game 162, this year they accomplished the feat in 156 games. With six games remaining the A’s still had a lot to do.
With the A’s record at 93-63, the team was two games ahead of the Detroit Tigers for the second seed in the AL and were sitting a game and a half behind the Boston Red Sox for best record in, not only the AL, but the majors.
The A’s, led by pitcher Tommy Milone, went out on the field Monday and got a huge 10-5 win over the Angels improving their record to 94-63; with the Tigers (91-66) on the wrong end of a Minnesota Twins walk-off and the Red Sox (95-62) relaxing on an off day, the A’s gained a game on the AL champs and a half game on one of the major turnaround teams of the season.
With the MLB changing their playoff formation back to the normal 2-2-1, rather than the moronic 2-3 system it was last season, the A’s would receive a major benefit by at least grabbing the second seed. Their magic number to clinch that spot is now at two; but, the A’s shouldn’t stop there.
With five games remaining for the A’s and Red Sox, the magic number to take a hold of the top seed in the AL, which would lead to home-field advantage all the way through the playoffs, is seven games. So with a little help a few more wins, the A’s could possibly host every series of the playoffs in a raucous 48,000 fan atmosphere of O.Co.
It’s not ever yet, there’s plenty left to play.