For the better part of the last half-decade, the Oakland A's have been the best second-half team in all of baseball, seemingly putting behind any struggles they had in the initial few months of season, and surging forward to grab the lead in the American League West, or to extend it if they were already out in front. With a 19-9 record thus far following the All-Star Break, 2006 is playing the same tune, and the A's, following tonight's 6-3 defeat of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, now are the proud owners of a 4 1/2 game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who dropped their contest against the mutually hated New York Yankees this morning.
In my first year as an A's season ticket holder, I've gone to a lot of games this year, and I'm not complaining, even though it now seems a considerable amount of my time is now spent driving up and down Interstate 880 to and from the game. Tonight, and yesterday, I was able to see these A's at their best, as Friday night saw them come back from a 2-0 deficit to win 5-2, and today, they won again, but instead capitalized on an early 5-0 lead, to win 6-3. Though the outcome was the same in both games, they certainly followed different formulas. Friday saw a 2-run home run by Bobby Kielty put the team ahead, and Saturday instead saw the patience needed to draw bases loaded walks, and no home runs were put on the board by the green and gold.
The A's have now won 8 of 9, are 12 games over the .500 mark, their high point for the season, and they have clinched their fifth consecutive series win. The team is on a serious roll, so long as we can all ignore the occasional aberration (See Wednesday's 14-0 blowout, for example). But while the team gets more comfortable in the midst of a pennant race, questions remain on injuries to key players, and if the Angels will stop acting like pretenders, and instead turn into contenders the last few months of the year. I know we'll be in our seats, pushing the A's forward in an effort to see them take on the postseason. After all, this week, we just ponied up the dough to watch them all the way through the World Series. Games like tonight and yesterday certainly help to make that dream more of a reality.
Listening to ''Nukleuz Trance Sessions, Vol. 1", by Various Artists (Play Count: 5)