Last three games, it’s been really good swings,” Melvin said. He’s not late on them. Here are some Streak statistics for this entry. The winning streak will end eventually, probably sooner rather than later because that's baseball, but the Athletics have made it clear they are a legitimate World Series contenders. During this nine-game winning streak the Athletics trailed in the sixth inning or later four times and in the fourth inning or later six times. In 2002, the Oakland A's were magical as they set the American League record for longest winning streak. “We won by two, but the difference between two and one, psychology-wise, going into the last inning, is huge. "He's gotten to the point now where he doesn't really care who he faces, he just likes pitching," Melvin told reporters, including Gallegos, after Montas held the Astros scoreless over seven innings Saturday (OAK 3, HOU 1). “We’re not 100 percent and still winning, so that’s great news for us. They have enough just based on their goal of wresting away the division supremacy from Houston, which has won the division each of the past three seasons, to capture the American League West crown this year for the first time since 2013. “We’ve got contributions up and down our lineup. I think these 13 games are a pretty good indicator of how we’re starting out.”. That means the much improved Semien and two Gold Glovers in Chapman and Olson on the infield. But it was a rare showing of small ball that provided a key run in Thursday’s 6-4 win over the Rangers. The scandal will not provide any more motivation for the A’s. Astros on deckAwaiting the A’s on Friday night is a visit from the rival Astros in the first showdown between the clubs in 2020. The A's best hitter has been center fielder Ramon Laureano, who's authored a .278/.406/.519 batting line and is now likely to be suspended as a result of Sunday's brawl. Liam Hendriks (two runs in 8 1/3 innings) remains entrenched as closer and veteran Joakim Soria (7 2/3 scoreless innings) has served as his primary setup man. He came into this season really looking forward to leading the way. Marcus Semien is off to a very slow start (.211/.243/.296), though he did hit a leadoff home run Saturday. Anatomy of Athletics' nine-game winning streak: How Oakland built MLB's best record. They earned an A+ in Dayn Perry's quarter-mark grades and Matt Snyder has them atop his weekly power rankings. "Our offense is struggling a bit and for us to win these games that we're winning is going to pay such extreme dividends in the end," Bassitt told Gallegos following Friday's game. The three-game series will also mark the first time the teams will meet in the aftermath of Houston’s sign-stealing scandal. Frankie Montas, the club's Opening Day starter, came into the year with something to prove after last year's breakout season was interrupted by an 80-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. | Otto Greule/Getty Images. “They’ve been the team the past few years. They've been able to consistently come back to win games because the middle of their bullpen has been stellar. I see the A's as a team with really good hitters who have underperformed when the bases are empty, and once that sorts itself out, their offense will be dynamite. The Oakland Athletics are also known as the Oakland A’s and originally came together in Philadelphia in 1901. "Being able to sweep and extend our lead in the AL West is great," left-hander Jesus Luzardo told reporters, including MLB.com's Martin Gallegos, following Sunday's win (OAK 7, HOU 2). The A's turned 72.2 percent of balls in play into outs last season, third best in baseball behind only the Astros (73.0 percent) and Dodgers (72.9 percent), and they brought back the same roster this year (mostly). The A's have won nine consecutive games, the longest winning streak in baseball this season, and they swept the AL West rival Astros in three games this past weekend. The pitching's been very consistent, it's almost surprising when we give up runs," Semien told the Associated Press over the weekend. Streak Overview Round Record: 50-33-0 (.602) Month Record: 50-33-0 (.602) Longest Winning Streak: 7 » Streak Breaker: Oakland Athletics (Oct 5, 2020) Longest Losing Streak: 5 » Streak Breaker: #2 Rafael Nadal (ESP) (Oct 11, 2020) How have the A's won nine straight games? The A's aren't getting much offense but they are getting timely offense. "That's a good sign. I think inside our clubhouse, we look at ourselves as the best team in the division. For the season, the A’s relief corps holds a 1.80 ERA over 55 innings. A’s manager Bob Melvin said the decision to bunt was purely Piscotty’s, who saw an opening when the Rangers’ infield shifted to the left side. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. They're also making big plays in the field too. “He was trying to push it in the hole between first and second because nobody was there. Mike Fiers allowed a two-run homer to Anderson Tejeda to trim Oakland’s lead to one run in the seventh, but the A’s manufactured their way to an important insurance run in the bottom half of the frame. Last year, we always talked about winning games without the homer. "A lot of our games have been close but we're playing good defense, timely hitting. In spring training and again in summer camp, the A's planned to use righty Chris Bassitt in the bullpen, where he excelled last year. Davis’ leadoff single was another sign that a resurgence was imminent. When there are men on base, they've been nine percent better than average, and when there are runners in scoring position, they've been 11 percent better. With three more scoreless innings in relief of Fiers on Thursday, A’s relievers finished the series allowing just one run over 12 2/3 innings. Guys are starting to click and figure it out,” Fiers said. Oakland is not just getting the big hit. I think everyone is moving on from that,” Olson said. Diekman learned a new slider that has paid dividends this year -- as MLB.com's David Adler writes, Diekman learned it from Twitter -- and McFarland and Wendelken have done solid work in the past. Their defense has been solid. That the A's have won nine straight games without firing on all cylinders (the offense hasn't clicked yet, the starters other than Montas and Bassitt have been hit or miss, etc.) The 60-game season is approximately one-quarter complete and the Oakland Athletics stand alone atop the MLB standings at 12-4. The Athletics have turned 72.9 percent of batted balls into outs this season, which is better than last season but only middle of the pack because the MLB batting average is currently .230. Season: 2002 Before he became one of the worst free-agent signings ever, Barry Zito was part of Oakland’s three-headed monster of a starting pitcher rotation, along with Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. Petit has been consistently great the last half-decade, so what he's doing is no surprise. The 60-game season is approximately one-quarter complete and the Oakland Athletics stand alone atop the MLB standings at 12-4. The win marked Oakland’s sixth in a row, which stands as the longest streak in the American League. “We’re getting better every day. Truth be told, the Athletics are not off to a great start offensively this year. Then Murph got the big hit,” Melvin said. The streak has also come despite the offense getting off to a slow start in most categories other than homers. Sean Manaea (8.03 ERA) and Mike Fiers (5.63 ERA) have struggled in the early going and Luzardo only recently joined the rotation after beginning the year in the bullpen. The A’s bullpen played perhaps the biggest part in securing the three-game sweep of the Rangers. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson hit back-to-back home runs Sunday... ...and are just now really starting to get it going. “He’s looked really good. There is no glaring weakness on the roster and, when they're struggling in one phase of the game, they do enough in the other phases to win anyway. This team was very good to begin with -- the A's won 97 games in 2018 and 2019 -- but their core is more mature now, and additions like Luzardo (from within) as well as Diekman and Smith (from outside) make them even more dangerous. Once adjusted for ballpark, that is only three percent better than league average. "Having the ability to win these big games early in the season is big for us.". These four factors stand out as well. OAKLAND -- Home runs have fueled much of the A’s early-season success. Especially with the top of their order coming up.”. Khris Davis (54 OPS+), Stephen Piscotty (88 OPS+), and rookie catcher Sean Murphy (70 OPS+) haven't contributed much at the plate. "This time of year we're only looking for him to go six. Thus far this season it looks like the real Montas. Stephen Piscotty followed a leadoff single from Khris Davis by executing a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Davis over to second. Powerful A's sweep series with small ball. But until we go and take it, it is theirs.". “It’s been the entire roster and the entire bullpen to this point,” Melvin said. The A’s entered Thursday’s game with the fifth-lowest team batting average (.206) in baseball. I think we're playing good ball, regardless of the batting averages up there, whatever, we're doing what we have to do to win games. "He was pitching well and kept his pitch count low. "Another terrific game -- seven innings against that lineup," manager Bob Melvin told Gallegos after Bassitt held Houston to one run in seven innings Friday (OAK 3, HOU 2 in 13 innings). He's feeling it at this point. When the bases are empty, the A's have been six percent worse than the average offense. We are working with them to enable your sports experiences again as quickly as possible. As things stand, they've gotten enough timely hits to win nine straight. Check out some of the other arms in the A's bullpen: That's a 0.59 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP in over 35 innings from five middle relievers. The streak has also come despite the offense getting off to a … Four times during the nine-game winning streak Oakland did not take the lead for good until the seventh inning or later, including scoring two runs in the bottom of the 13th to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win Friday. "Last year he really came into his own. They were originally founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams and promptly entered the National League. Our data provider is having technical issues, live scoring and stats are impacted. With a record of 9-4, the A’s matched their best record through the first 13 games of a season (1992, 2010, '13, '14) over the past 30 years. They're averaging 4.44 runs per game, which is only slightly better than the 4.36 league average, and as a team Oakland has managed a .213/.321/.377 batting line. Liam Hendriks made quick work of the top three hitters in Texas' lineup, slamming the door with a scoreless ninth to record his fourth save of the season. It’s probably 15 games or so,” Melvin said. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. “What is a 'start' in a 60-game season? Import contacts from your favorite email providers and invite them to join your group and play Streak with you!Invite Friends ». The 30-year-old is well-traveled -- the A's are his fifth MLB team in four seasons -- though that's largely because his stuff is so good that he keeps getting chances. I know he feels good about his swing right now, and so do I.”. That all comes with maturity and his multiple pitches.". They're hitting .271/.416/.562 in close and late situations, which are defined as plate appearances in the seventh inning or later in which the game is tied, the team is leading by one, or has the tying run at least on deck. FanGraphs gives the Athletics a 79.6 percent chance to win the AL West, up from 25.0 percent the day the nine-game winning streak started. Pitchers have been ahead of hitters in the early going and lots more outs have been made. It was important," Melvin told Gallegos after Wendelken threw three innings in Friday night's 13-inning win. Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Houston hasn't been this far back in the standings in four years. Puk's shoulder injury and Luzardo missing time with COVID-19 forced the A's to put Bassett back in the rotation and he's been brilliant, allowing just two earned runs through three starts.

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