With the Texas Rangers 10th inning loss today against the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland Athletics clinched their second straight and 16th overall AL West division championship. The A’s decided to put an exclamation point on the win by smashing in 11 runs against the Minnesota Twins to finish off the sweep and their last home game until the playoffs in exciting fashion.
Oakland has a major league leading 82 home runs since the all star break, and not a single hitter over 30 home runs. That is what the league defines as perfect balance because no one player has done it for the team night after night. It has been a group effort from the start of the season although some players deserve to be in the spotlight.
Coco Crisp after today has 13 home runs since the all star break, only one less than major league leading Chris Davis in the same time span. Jarrod Parker only has one loss in his last 20 starts which is beyond unbelievable for any pitcher. Oakland has a team that has a majority of young players who are more than ready for seasons ahead and who are constantly improving on a nightly basis.
Oakland has nothing left to worry about the rest of the season, aside from possibly going for the best record and facing the wild card opponent instead of the Detroit Tigers, who have been a large obstacle in the playoffs. No matter who the A’s face in the first round, they will have the advantage in pitching, and what nobody expected, they will have the advantage in run support.
The pitching staff may be young and they may not have any huge name players, but they have proven that they are one of the best teams in the league, two years in a row.