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The Oakland Athletics Obstacle Standing Between Them and First Place

Despite landing Jon LesterJeff Samardzija and Adam Dunn over the past few weeks in hopesof securing the AL West title, the Oakland Athletics have found themselves unable to overcome the obstacle that is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. We all know the Oakland offense has struggle to support their impressive rotation, but perhaps the reasoning for their issues lie much deeper than just offensive statistics.

Actually it is quite simple – they have failed to care of business against the Houston Astros (62-80) and Texas Rangers (53-88).

Two of the absolute worst teams in all of major league baseball, the Astros and Rangers both play in the same division as the Athletics – the AL West. For a team vying for the division title, 18 plus games a year against these teams should be an easy way to boost your overall record. However, for Oakland, that is not the case.

Their record against the Rangers is 7-5 on the season while they are 10-7 against the Astros. Sure, that is an above .500 record, but let’s be serious. When you are an opposing team facing off against two teams with a combined winning percentage of just .408, it is imperative that you take care of business to the utmost degree. Simply put, you have to play better than 17-12 against these teams.

Against these same two teams, the Angels have a record of 20-9. It is a difference of three games, but in a tight race, every game adds up. With the Athletics five and a half games out of first place, don’t you think they would feel a lot better about their chances at the division crown if they had those three games back?

Such an obstacle is astounding to me. Heck, take a look at these two statistics and tell me who you believe would be in first place:

Run Differential

Team A: +153

Team B: +112

Baseball logic tells us that a team with an improved run differential of 41 runs should be the better team, but that is not the case – Team A is Oakland and Team B is Anaheim, yet the Athletics are sitting in second place. It is more proof of the importance of beating teams who are bad. It’s simple, but yet many fail to do it correctly.

Every season is full of “what if” question marks, it is hardly uncommon. However, some of the most infuriating are the ones that obviously stand out – ones that keep you from reaching your season goal. For the Athletics, they are dangerously close to missing out on the chance to win the AL West. Oakland will undoubtedly still make the postseason, however their inability to take care of business against the Astros and Rangers will be a glaring miscue during offseason meetings.



Cover Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Grant E. Doepel

Grant E. Doepel

Founder at Sports Grumble
Editor in Chief and co-founder of Riverfront City Sports and Sports Grumble, Doepel is a Cincinnati native who lives and breathes Queen City sports. A University of the Cumberlands graduate with degrees in Journalism and Communication Arts, Doepel still resides in the Greater Cincinnati area to provide easy access to the riverfront stadiums.
Grant E. Doepel

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