MLB

Surging Oakland Athletics ‘focused on continuing’ solid play

May 2, 2024, 12:25 PM

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 30: JJ Bleday #33 of the Oakland Athletics high-fives with Esteury Ruiz...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Last season, the Oakland Athletics were essentially an automatic win or record-booster for opposing MLB teams.

It’s been a different story thus far in 2024.

Oakland is off to a surprising start this season, having won five of their past six games to put themselves just 2.5 games behind the first-place Seattle Mariners in the American League West standings.

The Athletics’ 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday–their fourth-straight winning effort–improved Oakland’s record to 15-17 through 32 games. In 2023, the A’s didn’t secure its 15th win until June 9th (65 games into the regular season).

Following a rough 1-7 start, the A’s have posted a 14-10 record over their past 24 games thanks to strong play on both sides of the field.

“We definitely are focused on continuing in this direction,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said following Wednesday’s win. “We’re getting the pitching from both the starters and bullpen. Those things started to align. The offense is scoring enough runs, but the pitching and defense are really the story right now.”

Oakland’s bullpen has been lights out behind hard-throwing closer Mason Miller and crafty right-hander Lucas Erceg, who both hold sub-two ERAs and have combined for 46 strikeouts over 27 innings pitched.

The Athletics have also fared well in the box during their hot streak, holding a team batting average of .252 and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .820 over the past four games.

Oakland has mashed eight home runs and driven in 20 runs during the four-game win streak, but one question looms large: Can this production continue?

“Yeah, it can continue,” A’s infielder Abraham Toro said when asked that question on Wednesday. “We’ve got a lot of underdogs, guys people don’t really talk about, but they’re a key part of our success.”

Toro has been a force for the Athletics, batting .444 with one home run and 3 RBI over his past seven games. Tyler Nevin has also been a surprise for Oakland, batting .393 with four home runs, 7 RBI, and an impressive .821 slugging percentage over his last seven appearances.

These aren’t last year’s Oakland A’s, and opponents viewing them as a soft portion of their schedule are in for a surprise if things continue to trend in this direction.

Upcoming schedule for the Oakland Athletics

  • Friday, May 3rd-Sunday, May 5th – vs. Miami Marlins
  • Monday, May 6th-Wednesday, May 8th – vs. Texas Rangers
  • Friday, May 10th-Sunday, May 12th – @ Seattle Mariners
  • Monday, May 13th-Thursday, May 16th – @ Houston Astros
  • Friday, May 17th-Sunday, May 19th – @ Kansas City Royals

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