(OAKLAND) -- The 2014 Oakland Athletics have the most road wins of any major-league ball club right now, and even if that's just a glitch due to early scheduling, it is still notable because the team is only 6-6 at home thus far.
And everyone knows there's no place that rocks like the O.co Coliseum, which may be the last bastion of blue-collar baseball fans in MLB right now. So it's odd that the A's are 13-6 away from their friendly crowds and only playing .500 ball in front of them.
Yes, it's only May 5 today, but as Oakland starts a 10-game home stand tonight against the Seattle Mariners, the A's have a great opportunity to distance themselves a little bit from the rest of the American League West division early in the season.
Because sometimes those May leads come in handy come August and September, of course. And while the A's are a flawed team, they still are pretty darn good. Their overall 19-12 record has given them a two-game cushion already in the AL West, and Oakland's +54 run differential is the tops in the major leagues.
If it weren't for those six blown saves in April, perhaps the A's would be higher on the radar -- but they're fine staying off that, of course. Oakland is an afterthought to most people, even in the sports world, of course.
The A's didn't help their publicity cause over the weekend in Boston, but Oakland did salvage some face with the 3-2, extra-innings win on Sunday against the Red Sox at Fenway. Sonny Gray seemed to run out of gas in the seventh when he gave up the game-tying homer, but the A's loaded the bases with two outs in the tenth for Yoenis Cespedes -- and he came through with an infield single to plate the winning run.
Even with his tender legs, the outfielder hustled down the line to beat the throw from third base. Cespedes will still miss tonight's game against the Mariners, to rest that sore hamstring.
It'll be Scott Kazmir (4-0, 2.11) against Chris Young (1-0, 3.04) this eveniing at the Coliseum as Seattle (14-15) tries to get itself back into contention in the division. The Mariners' big righty -- he stands 6'10" -- blanked the A's over six innings on April 13, and he is that kind of big mound presence Oakland often struggles with scoring runs against offensively.
Meanwhile, the A's lefty Kazmir has a stellar 35:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2014, but he struggled a bit last week in the win over Texas, going only five innings and giving up three runs.
Oakland plays Seattle again on Tuesday evening before playing a traditional doubleheader on Wednesday, including the "rainout" make-up game from the first week of the season when the infield was saturated from an overnight cloudburst.
After the Mariners leave town, it'll be the Washington Senators who visit over the weekend, and next week sees the Chicago White Sox at the Coliseum as the old AL West foes reunite for the first time in 2014. If the A's can manage to win seven or eight of these games at the Coliseum, they'll get that record at home to more closely resemble their road record -- and that could mean a big cushion in the AL West, of course.
Game time tonight is 7:05 p.m.