It’s been a wild stretch for the Oakland Athletics. And now, on August 18, they find themselves tied with the Houston Astros for first in the AL West.
They were 10 games back of said Astros back on July 10.
But Saturday, less than 24 hours after an overturned call at home plate turned the game on its head, the Athletics didn’t give the Astros any reason to look for an excuse. Instead, they took the fight to Houston from the very beginning. Two runs in the first inning off a Khris Davis double would’ve been enough. After all, the final read 1-7. But the Athletics weren’t content there. They would then add three more in the sixth on a trio of doubles from Matt Olson — Friday night’s hero — Stephen Piscotty and Josh Phegley. That same Phegley would double again in the eighth, this time playing two.
And here we are. The Athletics, 74-49, are tied with they Astros. They’re 7-3 over their last 10 while Houston is 3-7. The Astros have now dropped seven of eight and 12 of 19 overall. On a day when the Athletics honored members of the 2002 team that set the AL record 20-game winning streak, it just felt fitting.
Once again, there’s something special going on in Oakland.
For the first time since August 14, 2014, they are 25 games over .500. More than that, they went on to match their best 123-game record since 1992. They’ve also won 15 of their last 18 series. This all dates back to June 15. The Athletics refuse to settle down, but the Astros need to find a way to collect themselves and get it together. After winning the World Series last season, it sure would be something if they collapsed and fell out of the playoff picture entirely. That’s going to take some doing, though. Both teams have a four-game lead over the Seattle Mariners, a team that continues to fade, for the second wild card spot.
Something tells us the Athletics aren’t about to settle for the wild card, though. Will they go on to win the AL West?