Oakland, CA – Jon Lester was named American Player of week on Monday after going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts last week. It was his second career weekly honor since May 26, 2008. Tonight he takes the mound against David Buchannan and the Phillies. After being swept by the Texas Rangers, the A’s place all faith in this first game of the three-game series.
< p>Oakland is on the verge of an epic collapse. In a fight to stay alive in this pennant race, they gain ground in the American League Wild Card race. The Kansas City Royals are now the front runners in the top spot while the A’s are a half a game behind. But the Seattle Mariners are only a game behind Oakland so the race is very tight.
The month of July was truly rewarding, the A’s were up 2.5 games in the AL West and owned the best record in the Majors at 66-41. On June 1st, Oakland made one of the most shocking and biggest trades before the MLB deadline expired. They traded outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox for pitcher Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes.
Since then Cespedes has driven in 27 runs in 36 games while Lester is now on a team that is going in a different direction. The A’s have lost three straight and six of their last eight games and are now 11-25 dating back to August 10th when they had a four-game lead in the West, an 11-game lead in the Wild Card and were a season high 28 games over .500.
It’s Oakland’s worst game stretch since July 29th thru September 5, 2008. This marks the first time the A’s have not held at least a share of the West lead or the Wild Card lead. For the first time in two years, Oakland will not be the AL West Division champs since the Anaheim Angels were crowd that title after the A’s lost to the Rangers two nights ago.
Before the Cespedes trade Oakland was a powerhouse on offense averaging 5.1 runs per game since then they’ve dropped tremendously to 2.0 runs per game. Tonight they look to turn things around in a desperate fashion. The A’s are hoping Lester will find his power in pitching as he did when he tossed six frames shutting out the Mariners in his last start.