The Houston Astros arrived in Oakland for a four-game series and were able to prevail in game one. The Oakland Athletics could have reacted in two ways – be shocked and rattled by the loss, or be angered and return with fervor. They chose the latter option.
The Athletics are in a compellingly close race for the AL West lead with the Texas Rangers. The Astros, who trail the leaders by 30-plus games, are at the point where they can act only as agitators. They have the opportunity, ironically, to decide the winner of the AL West and which team moves onto the playoffs this season.
The Athletics are in no mood to let the Astros dictate their fate.
Coming back from being down 1-0 to take the series 3-1, the A’s showed that they are a more resilient team than the young newcomers Houston, at least for the time being. With stronger hitting and pitching, and with vastly more experience, they simply wore down and outlasted the Astros. In 2013, Oakland is a better team.
The Astros, however, sent six minor league teams to the playoffs this season. This is the highest number since the 2003 Pittsburgh Pirates, and if this doesn’t put a sense of worry into the minds of their division rivals for the future, it certainly should.
The Houston Astros are the whipping boys of the bigs this season. As such, however, they have nowhere to go but up. Bo Porter and the rest of the Houston clubhouse have put a system in place that trumps any other major league club, and although this season was lost from very early on, no one should be surprised to see a new, wiser team at the start of 2014.
Daniel Jamieson is an MLB writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JamiesonDaniel