If the resurgent Oakland Athletics are for real, this weekend should confirm it.
Riding a seven-game winning streak, the A’s will try to keep their roll going when they open a three-game series with the majors’ top team, the Chicago White Sox.
With Thursday’s 6-2 victory over last-place Seattle, their sixth win over the Mariners in the last 11 days, the A’s have won 11 of 12. Oakland finished finish June with a 19-8 record after going 7-20 in May. That matched the best turnaround in Oakland history from one month to the next.
In 1980, the A’s went 7-21 in June and 19-10 in July.
“June has been terrific,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “We’ve got nine games left until the All-Star break and six of them against the team with the best record in baseball.”
The White Sox have won 11 of 13 and are in danger of running away with the AL Central title.
“It’s going to be a good test for us,” A’s shortstop Bobby Crosby said, “to see where we’re really at.”
The A’s have made up for the fact that they are tied for 23rd in the majors in team batting average (.260) by putting together a stretch of dominant starting pitching. Oakland’s rotation is 11-0 with a 1.53 ERA over the last 12 games.
Dan Haren was the latest Oakland starter to shine, allowing just two runs and six hits over six innings in Thursday’s win.
Friday’s starter, Rich Harden, has been outstanding over his last two starts, allowing just one run and three hits over 12 innings.
The White Sox are coming off a three-game sweep at Detroit.
After a rain delay of 2 hours, 4 minutes, Freddy Garcia needed barely more time than that to beat the Tigers 6-1 Thursday, pitching a five-hitter for his first complete game of the season. The game sped by in just 2:08.
However, Chicago has had its problems in Oakland, going 3-19 at McAfee Coliseum since 2001. The White Sox dropped two of three games to the A’s at McAfee in late April.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen knows the history, but doesn’t sound overly concerned.
“Hopefully, we can continue to build on what we did in the last three months.”