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May 18, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) throws in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland A's Avoid David Price, Mark Buehrle

Welcome to another edition of the Oakland Athletics week preview. Last week was a great one for the green and gold, and you can read all about that here. Basically, the Athletics had an amazing offensive week with a 5-1 record, which could have been 6-0 if not for the combination of Fernando Abad and Luke Gregerson. But the past is the past, the week in review is in the highlighted link above, and now we look ahead.

In last weeks edition of the week preview, I predicted they could have a potential 10 game win streak. That prediction almost came true, but a 5-1 week is still great, and seeing as how the Athletics are still 3 1/2 games ahead in the west, I’d say it was still a great week.

This next week, the Athletics face a free falling Tampa Bay Rays team and get some tougher competition against the Toronto Blue Jays.

first let’s take a look at the series that kicks off today against the Rays.

First of all, the Athletics have a pretty good shot at sweeping the Rays. Coming into the season, the Rays had big expectations. When I looked at the schedule before the season started, I thought to myself  “There’s a series that won’t come easy, and could go either way.” As the season has progressed, we have seen the plague of Tommy John Surgeries spread to a lot of teams, including the Rays. Matt Moore is out for the season, joining the long list of victims to the procedure.

The Rays have suffered more injuries than that, however. Alex Cobb has a strained oblique, and won’t be pitching against the Athletics either. Ben Zobrist is on the 15 day DL due a dislocated thumb.

The injuries have been a big blow to the Rays, it shows on their record. the Rays are currently sitting on a 19-26 record, last in the AL East.

It would have been nice to have the Rays at their best, it would have made for a more evenly matched series. With all the injuries, this series is leaning heavily in favor of the Athletics.

Both teams here have suffered injuries, but the Athletics have the superior depth, which shows in their 28-16 record.

Overall, the main point is that the Athletics are red hot right now. They recently just scored 48 runs in one week, the rotation is now solid from 1-5, and everything is just clicking together. The Rays are a great team, but they are in a serious rough patch right now with injuries and not a lot of depth. This give the Athletics the edge coming into this series.

The final factor here, which will make the difference between just series win and a sweep is the fact the Athletics will not be facing David Price. He pitched in the Rays last game against the Angels. David Price is the ace of the Rays, and without him I see the Rays being the next victims on the list of teams being swept by the deep, red hot Oakland Athletics. Without facing David Price, the Athletics may just have yet another 6 game win streak on the horizon.

The Athletics will then head over to Rogers Centre in Toronto to face the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays are currently 1 game above .500 with a 23-22 record which is good for 3rd in the AL East. They will be the Athletics toughest competition since facing the Washington Nationals earlier this month.

This series will be a tough one to win, because they will be playing in Toronto on artificial turf. The Athletics don’t see much of it, so they aren’t used to playing on it. The Blue Jays play there all the time seeing as how it’s their home field, so they are completely used to it. This gives the Blue Jays an advantage.

The Athletics however, catch yet another lucky break as they will not be facing Mark Buehrle, who is doing just as good as Sonny Gray. Gray has a 2.10 ERA, and Buehrle owns a 2.11 ERA. The Athletics will not have to face him, so that makes this series at least a little bit easier to take.

If the Athletics can take 2 of 3 from Toronto, that would be a major success. A sweep would be even better, which would give them even more momentum going back home to face the Detroit Tigers.

Overall, this series will boil down to who’s offense will come out on top. I think that with the way the Athletics are swinging the bats lately, they will come out on top.

The Athletics almost always have an advantage when playing away, because they play in the Coliseum, one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the game. That means that when they go on the road, other ballparks become easier to hit home runs in.

So to wrap it up nicely, the Athletics have the potential for another big win streak. They can sweep the Rays for a 6 game win streak, but I don’t see them sweeping the Blue Jays. My prediction for the week is that the Athletics will sweep the Rays, have a 6 game win streak going into Toronto, and will take 2 0f 3 there. They will have another 5-1 week, and will remain hot going into the next week.

Tags: David Price Mark Buehrle Oakland Athletics

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