At this point in time, the Oakland Athletics are sitting pretty well in the playoff picture in the American League. They’re only 2.5 games out of first in their own division, while currently leading the Wild Card in the AL. A good position to be in as the calendar turns to September.
However, while the A’s are currently looking good in their question to grab a playoff spot for the second consecutive season, a scuffling offense and a rough September schedule could hold them back from doing so. Things may need to turn around at the plate if they’re going to survive this next stretch of games.
The 2013 season has seen some players take steps back, both from their 2012 performance and from what they were doing earlier this season. Josh Reddick has turned his season around lately, but his offensive numbers on the season are still shoddy. Josh Donaldson has had a rough second half of the year.
While the A’s rank near the top of the league in runs so far this season, they’re near the bottom of the league in team batting average and near the middle of the pack in team on-base percentage. With runners in scoring position, Oakland hitters are going for just .221.
Their schedule over this next stretch doesn’t make things any easier for Oakland. From now until September 4th, they’ll be meeting contending teams in each series, including a crucial three-game set with the Texas Rangers. It’s a stretch of games that will make or break their season.
Luckily, things cool off after that, with another three game set against the Rangers. The remainder of their September contests are against teams that are already out of contention, and have been for a while. They have the pitching to contend, and a decent enough offense. If they can survive this next stretch, and prove their meddle to the rest of the American League, they’ll be just fine in the AL playoff race.