Going into the highly important Bay Bridge Series against the San Francisco Giants, the Athletics had a record of 32-43. They showed flashes of being a solid team despite the injuries. However, they remained at the bottom of the American League standings.
Entering June 30 game against the Giants, with Madison Bumgarner on the mound, Oakland took the first three games of the series which boosted them within eight games of .500.
A series sweep against the Athletics’ Northern California rivals will not only give fans bragging rights for the rest of the year, but it will give the team a great boost of confidence to enter the second half of the season. This will be even better for Oakland when potential All Star Rich Hill returns to the mound this Saturday.
The Bay Bridge Series arrived at the perfect time because the Athletics won the series against an extremely worthy opponent. And although the bullpen suffered a loss when Sean Doolittle was sent to the disabled list, the energy in the dugout, bullpen, and clubhouse is still high due to the excitement that this series brings every year.
Since Billy Beane never likes to consider himself a complete seller, it will be up to the Athletics to grind every game and make the case to not have to trade anyone. Guys like Danny Valencia, Rich Hill, and Josh Reddick, are extremely valuable trade candidates for a reason. But Beane should hold off until after the All Star break to see just the type of run the Athletics are capable of making. They have shown that they can play like a playoff team and they have the pieces to make a strong run at any point this season.
With the Athletics being eight games below .500, their first goal should be to reach this. And since they are also seven games behind the second Wild Card spot, that is a manageable task for Oakland to reach since we are still not even half way in the season.
The month of July be a game changer for the Athletics as they will face many playoff contenders throughout the league. However, the Athletics can make up some ground as they face the struggling Minnesota Twins for a three game set after they face the Pittsburgh Pirates who also happen to be under .500.
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