At 8-2 over their last 10 games with a Monday victory against the divisional rival Texas Rangers, the Oakland Athletics are already on a significant roll as one of the league’s hottest teams lately, having surged into a share of the AL West lead.
If they can get Yoenis Cespedes back to being the player has was last season even just to close the season out, however, they could be so much more.
Yes, while teams should already be weary of playing against the suddenly streaking A’s, now they also have to worry about the bat of the Cuban slugger, which may just have come out of its disappointing yearlong slumber.
As the Rangers heard loud and clear on Monday after the 27-year-old clobbered a 2-2 sinker from Derek Holland to left-center for his 21st home run of the season, there’s no time like the present for a little redemption.
Sure, he’s still a .716 OPS hitter for the season, but the homer did come in a 2-for-4 day, the fifth time over the last six games in which the slugger has recorded a hit.
And while he hasn’t exactly been crushing the ball (just one home run and a double in that span, the fact that three of those games saw multi-hit performances shows that Cespedes is far from the .231/.290/.426 hitter that the team has seen through 493 PA on the season.
Can he draw a walk? Nah, but as the rest of the team has been dominating at the plate (second-place 2.2 fWAR, .906 OPS, 149 wRC+) over the last seven days, it must be nice for Oakland to finally have their no. 4 hitter join the club.
I mean, when your cleanup guy is putting up a .870 OPS over his last 23 PA, and that only makes him the seventh-best on the team over that span … you know you’re doing something right, yes?
That, folks, is what you’d call a team offense that’s firing on all cylinders — or bad news for the rest of the AL contenders as the playoff race goes into high gear.