The Oakland A’s have once again gotten hot in September as they have won 8 out of their last 10 games against playoff caliber opponents. With today’s big win against the Texas Rangers, the A’s are now tied with Texas for first place in the AL West. This series against the Rangers was the watermark for the season as the A’s are rewarded with subpar teams the rest of the way. The A’s will have the bulk of their games against the cellar dwellers in Houston and Minnesota. The Rangers will have games against the Angels, Pirates, Royals and Rays.
What makes the A’s run even more remarkable is that they have dealt with an uneven bullpen and a rash of injuries. The national media once again did not give the swinging A’s much of a chance this season but once again the A’s have proven them wrong. Unlike last year where a dominant bullpen and a hot swinging Josh Reddick led the A’s to an AL West championship, the A’s have been getting big production throughout the lineup. The A’s have not only been getting production for Coco Crisp, Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie, but they have also been getting key hits from Alberto Callaspo, Daric Barton and Eric Sogard.
Winning another AL West championship is not enough for the 2013 Oakland A’s. Manager Bob Melvin must get the team fine-tuned for the inevitable October playoff run. First half ace Bartolo Colon looks like a shell of himself over the last month so the A’s must figure out which pitcher will replace him in the playoffs. The unstoppable bullpen trio of Cook, Doolittle and Balfour has struggled mightily over the last month, which does not bode well for the A’s. All three of them must find their 2012 form for the A’s to have any chance to win the World Series.