Even with the surrounding buzz and the incredible hot start for the Oakland Athletics to the 2014 season, they have spent the majority of their campaign with one of the thinnest margins of all the division leaders in baseball.
The A’s continue to boast the best overall run differential by a wide margin (+161) and they made huge deals before the trade deadline to build a World Series worthy pitching staff. Even with those facts being true, however, they always had a team right on their heels. Now that team, the Los Angeles Angels, has taken over sole possession of first place.
With a 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night, the Angels put themselves ahead of Oakland by a 0.5 games, at least for the moment. It could all change in 24 hours and the A’s could be back in first, but the fact that we are here is still worth noting. It shows the possibility that Oakland, for all of their dominance this season, could still be subject to the one game Wild Card round at season’s end.
It hasn’t necessarily been an easy road for the Angels lately, with a struggling Josh Hamilton and some issues more generally on offense. When asked about the fact that they keep winning anyway, C.J. Wilson said the following, gesturing to those same A’s in his response (from Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com):
“The tighter the team is knit, the more often they’re going to come back and win from behind and the more often they’re going to hold tight when it’s close. That’s why Oakland’s been so good the last few years. That’s a difference-maker.”
There are great races all around baseball. This particular battle between the two best teams in baseball stands to be especially intriguing between now and the playoffs. It would have seemed impossible to think that Oakland might be subject to a Wild Card game, but this morning’s standings serve notice that it is a real possibility.
Tags: Los Angeles Angels