If we look at the teams atop the American League West, there seems to be an interesting change of roles from earlier in the season. Way back in May the Texas Rangers were the team to beat and no one really seemed to be able to run them down. When finally the Oakland Athletics caught them, it was impossible to stay better than them for a while. Now however, the A’s have a decent lead in the division because of much better play in the month of July. Can they stay in front of the Rangers however, with their addition of Matt Garza before MLB trade deadline?
A couple of things will come into play in this division race that might really matter before the end of September. First of all the addition of Garza and the way the Rangers have played of late clearly shows that the A’s might have gotten outplayed during the trade season. As the lead shrunk down however the A’s went out Saturday and beat the very man the Rangers are counting on so much in Garza. As things stand right now the A’s and Rangers might fight it out all the way until the end. But everything is liable to change drastically next week.
The Rangers are hitting very well and playing well in general but that chemistry will probably be disrupted with the PED suspension of Nelson Cruz. Any advantage that might give the A’s however is likely to be offset if their leading starter, Bartolo Colon goes down to a suspension as well. In the end the moves at the deadline and just after it might really matter even more than we thought. I think the Athletics will come up on the short end because they did not add pitching.
While they do not seem to need extra pitching right now, losing Colon for the balance of the season is certainly going to be something that leads them to wish they had more starting pitching. We will have to wait and see how it shakes out as in all things but the A’s lack of pitching is likely to be worse on them than the Rangers offensive holes down the stretch as they have the better starting staff. If the A’s do not win the West, it could be said that they got outplayed most of all at the trade deadline.