Three games, three wins and more substance added to their already-dominant run differential in 2014: yes, these are your Oakland Athletics, and even with the flaws noted at the quarter pole, they are a very good baseball team right now.
The A's completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland baseball club today on the road with a 13-3 win, and after a 11-1 victory Friday and the 6-2 triumph on Saturday, Oakland has posted a whopping +95 run differential through their first 42 games this season.
The team also is now 16-6 on the road this season, which is the second-best mark in the majors so far in 2014. Winners of nine in their last ten contests, the A's have opened up a 7.5-game edge on the Texas Rangers, the American League West rival they have battled for the division title the last two seasons.
(Currently, the Los Angeles Angels are four games back, and the Seattle Mariners are seven games behind. Just ten games ago, the Mariners actually were one game behind the A's. What a difference a winning streak can make!)
Today's game was fueled by another solid start from Jesse Chavez (five innings, two runs, six strikeouts) and multiple-RBI efforts from four different hitters: Yoenis Cespedes (five), Brandon Moss (three), John Jaso (two) and Josh Reddick (two). Overall, the A's had 21 base runners today, with 12 hits and nine walks.
Yesterday, starter Scott Kazmir was tossed by home-plate umpire Jerry Layne in the second inning, so the bullpen worked 7.2 innings of one-run relief, including Dan Otero's 3.2-inning shutout effort on only 32 pitches. Josh Donaldson and Moss each drove in three runs for the offense.
(And for some reason, MLB left Moss off the All-Star ballot for first basemen, despite his 51 home runs combined in 2012-13. The powers-that-be put Daric Barton on the ballot for the A's at the position. Could MLB continue to be more dismissive of the Oakland organization? There's obviously no way Bud Selig will ever let the A's move to San Jose or even win a World Series -- because he'd have to force himself to actually go to the O.co Coliseum then.)
Oakland has the day off tomorrow before starting a three-game series in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. It will be Drew Pomeranz, Tommy Milone and Sonny Gray for those contests against the struggling Rays (19-25). After Thursday's early game, the A's head to Toronto (23-21) for Memorial Day weekend.