I’m a happy, broom-waving Oakland A’s fan this evening.
Our 12-7 victory over Cleveland in a day-game on Thursday wasn’t the sharpest game of baseball you’ll ever see in MLB – six walks dished out by Indians pitchers, seven by the A’s – but wins count the same in the standings regardless of how you put them on the board.
The win completed a four-game sweep over the Indians and kept the A’s tied with the Baltimore Orioles for one of the two American League Wild Card spots.
The old adage for success in MLB is to play .500 against the best teams and to beat up on the rest. The A’s have undoubtedly taken that advice on board.
They swept a three-game series at home against the Indians over the 17-19 August weekend and then followed that with two wins from three against the Minnesota Twins. An impressive 2-1 series win on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays set up this latest series in Cleveland and before the opener on Monday it had taken on a real sense of importance.
This was the sort of series that could define a season. Drop some games and you could be looking back at the season on 4 October and kick yourself for not beating a clearly beatable team. Take advantage of a side down on their luck and you give yourself a bit of breathing space that might just turn out to be the deciding factor on the final day of the regular season.
By taking four wins from four – making it six on the spin and 12 W’s from the past 14 available – the A’s can go into a six-game home stand against the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels with the confidence that only winning baseball can bring.
Whenever I start to think about the A’s playoff chances I always stop myself from getting carried away as there is still plenty of baseball left to be played and I don’t want to feel too disappointed if we ultimately miss out as it will have been an incredible season regardless of how it ends.
But the fact that I can worry about a potential playoff disappointment is an unexpectedly wonderful position to be in as we head into September.