The 2014 Oakland Athletics completed a three-game road sweep of the Miami Marlins today with a 4-3 win, and the A's have now played exactly half their regular-season schedule this year. With 51 wins, the Oakland club is on pace for a 102-win season, which would be its best mark since the 2002 famed Moneyball season.
Of course, two things needs to be noted: first, this sweep of the Marlins (39-43) was not easy, and second, projecting records forward is never an exact science. A lot can happen in 81 games, so these A's have nothing to rest upon in terms of accolades or laurels right now.
The Marlins surely made the Oakland team realize that this weekend: yes, the A's won all three games, but they blew four-run leads in both Friday's and Saturday's games, and two of the wins—Saturday's and today's—were mere one-run victories. Miami made Oakland work for these wins, and the A's should expect a lot more of these games going forward.
To review the weekend's events:
- Friday, Oakland won 9-5 in a game where they led 4-0 after five innings. The Marlins scored five runs in the sixth to take the lead, before the A's came back with a run in the eighth to tie the game—and won it with four more scores in the ninth inning. Oakland ripped 16 hits off Miami pitching, and Josh Donaldson drove in three runs;
- Yesterday, it was a 14-inning affair, and the A's escaped with a 7-6 victory. Oakland scored four runs in the first, and with Sonny Gray on the hill, it seemed like a sure thing. But there is no "sure thing" in baseball, and the Marlins came back to take a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning. The A's tied it in the fifth, took a one-run lead in the sixth, and then blew the lead in the ninth. Finally, Oakland pushed across the winning run in the 14th before hanging on in the bottom of the inning for the win;
- Today, the A's took a 4-1 lead in the sixth and hung on for the close win. The big blow was Nate Freiman's three-run home run in his first game with the big-league club in 2014.
Oakland has a 5.5-game lead in the American League West as they head to Detroit on Monday for a three-game set against the second-best team in the AL. The Tigers have been the A's postseason nemesis, of course, the last three times Oakland has qualified for the playoffs (2006, 2012, 2013).
After the Motown trip, the A's return home to host the Toronto Blue Jays for four games at the O.co Coliseum over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
These next seven games are against the two other division leaders in the AL, and Oakland would love to keep their current momentum intact with more series wins against quality teams.