(OAKLAND) -- The 2014 Oakland Athletics are looking quite solid right now, despite injuries, a shaky bullpen and some spotty defense: home sweeps have a way of smoothing over all the rough spots, don't they?
The A's beat the Houston Astros today, 4-1, and combined with the Saturday come-from-behind win in the bottom of the ninth inning, Oakland is now 13-5 on the season -- the team has a 2.5-game lead on the Texas Rangers in the American League West, and that's who's comin' to town next.
It will be an early AL West showdown on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the O.co Coliseum, but for now, the A's can enjoy the sweep of the Astros. After going 15-4 against Houston last year, Oakland is now 3-0 against their new division friends in 2014.
Starting pitcher Jesse Chavez tossed six innings of one-run ball today, and third baseman Josh Donaldson had three hits and three RBI -- and committed his fifth error of the season, as well. In fact, the A's have made 15 errors in their last nine games and currently lead the AL in errors with 20.
The defense should tighten up, of course, but that's not a good sign for Oakland even if the team is off to a great start on the season.
Saturday, an unearned run almost cost the A's the game, but the team was saved by a three-run rally in the ninth inning. Trailing 3-1 entering the last frame, Oakland got a home run from Jed Lowrie, a walk from Donaldson, and consecutive singles from Yoenis Cespedes, Alberto Callaspo and Josh Reddick to win the game, 4-3.
Teams better than the Astros (5-14) won't be so forgiving down the line here. You can bet the Rangers won't be giving the A's too many extra chances to beat them late in games.
Today, it was good to see Chavez get his first win of the season, as he's pitched so well in his previous starts without earning one. With his 1.38 ERA on the season, the veteran righty -- who stepped into the rotation when usual starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin were hurt -- has truly proved he fits right in with this A's ball club.
Oakland, of course, is looking for its third straight trip to the postseason in 2014, after winning the AL West the past two years and getting eliminated on home turf in Game Five both octobers by the Detroit Tigers.
If the A's keep playing like this, they'll have all the home-field advantage they can ask for come October -- and maybe they won't have to face the Tigers, a team that's knocked Oakland out of the postseason three straight times now, dating back to 2006.