After floundering to a 1-7 start, the Oakland A’s have ripped off 11 straight wins to become the hottest team in baseball and the leaders in the AL West.
The Athletics scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to get past the Minnesota Twins 13-12 on Wednesday, keeping the winning streak alive.
Oakland flips the script after slow start
Both Travis Blankenhorn and Luis Arraez committed two-out errors for the Twins, allowing Oakland to win without a single hit in the extra inning.
“Talk about a complete flip of the script,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said after the win. “Not only did we get [beaten] the first six games, we got trounced. To come back and put together this type of run, it shows the fight of this team. They never got down.”
First baseman Matt Olson leads the offense, hitting .316 with six homers and 15 RBIs to start the year. The A’s have also gotten a surprising boost from second baseman Jed Lowry, who’s hitting .323 in the early going.
RIDE THE WWWWWWWWWWWAVE 🌊 pic.twitter.com/AJMrNR43RY
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 22, 2021
The starting pitching has also bounced back from a rough start, with Sean Manaea (2-1, 3.04 ERA) anchoring the rotation. Closer Lou Trivino has been dominant so far, with Yusmeiro Petit and Deolis Guerra also throwing quality innings out of the bullpen.
None of those players stand out as superstars, but that’s been typical for Oakland in recent years; they’re a team that has notoriously found ways to win even without a big market budget.
Shades of Moneyball streak
The A’s came into the year as a close second choice to win the AL West behind the Houston Astros. Now, FanDuel Sportsbook sees Oakland as the team to beat in a close three-way race. The A’s sit at +150 on FanDuel, followed by Houston (+170) and the Los Angeles Angels (+230).
Oakland might be due to come back down to Earth in the next few weeks. Much of their winning streak has come against weaker competition, including the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. The A’s then swept the Twins when Minnesota was missing key players, including Max Kepler and Andrelton Simmons. The Twins were also a little rusty, coming off of missing three games due to COVID-19 protocols.
The schedule gets significantly harder for Oakland going forward – though not right away. After a day off on Monday, the A’s visit Baltimore for three games, and have another series with the Orioles starting later this week. In between, they’ll face the Tampa Bay Rays four times, then have series with the Blue Jays, Rays, and Red Sox.
No matter the circumstances, the 11-game winning streak is the longest for Oakland since 2002. That team – made famous in the book and film Moneyball – won 20 in a row, one of the longest streaks in MLB history, on its way to posting a 103-59 record.