It’s strange to think a four-game series in June, weeks before the All-Star break, could mean so much to the American League West division contenders. Last season, the race wasn’t settled until the final game (Thanks, Josh Hamilton). But the Oakland Athletics/Texas Rangers matchup this week in Arlington already has the feel of a late-season series — minus fans being forced to watch the games on FOX, muting the sound so they don’t have to listen to Joe Buck.
Back in spring training, most of the talking heads and analysts had the A’s predicted to finish third this season behind the Rangers and Angels. They explained that the A’s performed well above expectations last season, with one of the youngest starting pitching rotations that has ever played in the majors. Thus it would be crazy to think the A’s could maintain that level performance again this year.