Next up for Jays — sizzling A's
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
|Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes says he always believed in his team's ability. (Getty Images)
SEATTLE - The Oakland Athletics show no signs of slowing down.
Despite the fact that they were shut out by Tampa Bay on Tuesday, the A’s finished July with a 19-5 record to post a franchise record for winning percentage for the month at .792.
It marked the best July by an American League team since the New York Yankees went 23-6 (.793) in 1956.
“Broke a franchise record, that’s pretty good,” manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday. “I don’t think I’ve been on any teams that have had the success we had this month. We move on to the next month, you try to carry the momentum from this month to next month.
“Understand that we played very well to get where we are, and a lot of it happened this month.”
Overall, the red-hot A’s have won 10 of 13 and 14 of their past 19 games.
The A’s are especially lethal on their home turf and are simply magical when it comes to conjuring walk-off wins.
To date the Athletics have 12 walk-off wins, which is tied for the second highest total in club history, the record being 15 set in 2004.
Of that total, nine of their walk-off victories have come in their last 18 home games and that includes five such games that were won by a home run.
In the close ones, they are 18-9 in games decided by the last at-bat and heading into Wednesday’s game, they had won each of their past six games at home by one run.
They are also 8-2 in extra innings.
While nobody picked the A’s to accomplish much this season, the players have become true believers.
“I believed this team would do this right now,” outfielder Yoenis Cespedes said recently. “Why? Because we had one of the best teams in spring training, and I saw the way everyone played. Now, little by little, this team is getting better and better.”
Added veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon, who the Jays will face in the series opener: “Everyone is surprised with how we’re playing right now. No one thought Oakland would play like that.”
The lone negative of note is at Tuesday’s trade deadline the A’s didn’t make a move. Instead, they stood pat and spun it as a positive.
“We said all along we had to be respectful of the group that’s here and how well they’ve played and, also, respectful of the fact that a lot of our success has come because of the young players, and we were going to be protective of those guys,” assistant general manager David Forst told reporters. “With those two dynamics at play, there wasn’t anything that came up that compelled us to make a move.”