By dropping the first two games of the weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels, the A’s secured their first losing month since May 2012.
With a record of 12-15 in the month of August and just two games remaining, the best the A’s can accomplish is a 14-15 record.
To put into perspective what the A’s have accomplished over the past 14 months, it should be noted that this is the longest streak in Oakland history, eclipsing the 13 month streak that the 1970-1972 A’s set from September 1970 – September 1972. It is the second longest winning month streak in franchise history, second only to the 15-month streak set by the 1928-1930 Philadelphia A’s teams.
And just to put it in a more modern context, it is the second longest streak in the American League over the past 36 years. Only the 1996-2000 New York Yankees had recorded a longer streak, at 20 months, from September 1996 through April 2000.
Oakland management, players and of course the fan base are hoping for a series split against the Angels beginning with a win tonight as Jeff Samardzija takes the hill for the A’s against Cory Rasmus for the Angels.
Scott Kazmir will face off with Matt Shoemaker in the series finale Sunday afternoon.
If Oakland can split the series, they will escape Anaheim no worse off than they arrived, still one game back of the American League West division lead with 26 games remaining in September.
Looking just past this series, things don’t instantly get a whole lot easier. The A’s will begin a three game series against the Seattle Mariners, the team they could have to face in the single-elimination Wild Card game (Detroit currently leads the Mariners by percentage points only for the second Wild Card berth).
After an off day on Thursday, the A’s then play a three game series against the Houston Astros through the weekend at home before going back out on the road for four games against the Chicago White Sox and three more against the Mariners in Seattle.
The A’s final homestand of the season consists of three games against each the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and what could be the AL West deciding series with the Angels.
The A’s finish the regular season with four games against the Rangers in Texas.
On paper, the schedule favors the A’s with just nine games remaining against teams with an above .500 winning percentage.
The Angels also have 26 games in September, with 11 of those games against teams with an above .500 winning percentage, giving Oakland just a slight edge in strength of schedule. The Angels have a stretch of 23 straight games, and will have played 20 straight before reaching Oakland. The A’s will be slightly better rested, having played just six games in a row before that series, but with just one off day out of 17 days leading into the series.
Everything points to that series between Oakland and Anaheim from Sept. 22-24 potentially being the deciding series.
Of course, it all looks a lot better if the A’s handle their business and split the series beginning with a win tonight and go home on Monday just one game out of the division lead.