In their last 33 games, the Oakland Athletics are 26-7. Yes, you read that right. The A’s are the hottest team in baseball right now.
Things are going great for the Bay Area’s American League club as of late. Khris Davis- who I recently dropped from my fantasy team, of course- has hit six home runs in his last four games, and is now fourth in the Majors with 27 home runs on the year. Their ‘pen boasts a 3.54 ERA, 7th-best in the league. They haven’t lost a series since June 15.
Khris Davis, via NBC Sports Bay Area
On Tuesday night, Oakland rallied from a 10-2 deficit in the 7th inning to beat the Rangers 13-10 in extras. They’re now only a game-and-a-half out of both the second wild card spot and second place in the competitive AL West, both held by the Seattle Mariners. They have already added to their bullpen by acquiring right handed reliever Jeurys Familia, owner of a 2.88 ERA and 17 saves this season.
It looks like everything is going right for the A’s. It’s unlikely that they will catch the Astros, though they are only 6.5 games out and crazier things have happened; but don’t be surprised if you see Oakland sitting at second place in the division and holding the second AL wild card spot. To maintain this momentum, Khris Davis and the rest of the offense need to keep mashing. No hot streak is safe from regression, obviously, and Davis will eventually slow down, but as long as the Oakland hitters stay consistent and their bullpen keeps putting up zeros, this very well could be a playoff team.
2,600 miles away, another third-place team has been on a hot streak. The Pittsburgh Pirates had won eleven straight until losing to the Indians in interleague play on Wednesday night. The winning streak was their longest since September of 1996, according to their Twitter page.
The Bucs recently passed St. Louis to move into third place in the NL Central, and now sit 4.5 games behind Milwaukee for the second place spot. Can they keep this hot streak up? There was speculation that the Pirates would be sellers at the deadline, but many think they will be buyers instead given the recent hot streak. If they have any hope for this season- they are, by the way, 3.5 games out of the second NL wild card spot- they will need to add talent rather than sell it. Trading away big-name veterans would only reinforce the feeling that many Pirates fans already have: the owners are not as invested in winning now as they should be.
Both Oakland and the Pirates are on the outskirts of a sneak play into the playoffs, but there is still a lot of baseball left. All we can do is wait and see whether or not they can sustain their recent hot streaks, or if they end up regressing back to the mean.