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A’s are Heading to the Wild Card Game

Illustration by Ari Libenson

It’s been another exciting year in baseball. The defending champions, the Houston Astros, are playing another excellent season and the Boston Red Sox are having one of the best in their franchise’s history. But, for the first time in a long time, something special is also happening here in Oakland. This year has given rise to a red-hot new A’s team, and they are showing no sign of slowing down.

It all started on April 21, when the A’s emerging young pitcher, Sean Manaea, threw a no-hitter against the Red Sox. Even at that time, the Red Sox were the hottest team in baseball. Usually, at this point in the season the A’s would have settled for another subpar record, but  this provided a rare glimmer of hope.

This was the spark the A’s needed for their season. Coming into the All-Star break (July 16-19) the A’s had won every July series so far.

The A’s emerged from the All-Star break with their city behind them and an unbeatable attitude. On July 21, the A’s had 56,310 attendees at their game against the San Francisco Giants.  This would be the greatest turnout at an A’s game since their 1968 move to Oakland. By the end of July, the A’s had cemented themselves as true postseason contenders for the first time in five years.

After a successful August, the A’s started September by tying a series with the Mariners, one of their two main adversaries in the competition for the wild card spots in the post season. Then they won a huge series against the Yankees to close the gap in the wild card race to 3.5 games. According to MLB projections the A’s had a six percent chance of making the postseason on April 3. As of September 8, that chance has risen to 99 percent. They are still in the second wild card, so they will most likely have to play the Yankees to determine who moves on in the postseason. Admittedly, the wild card is always unpredictable. Regardless, they now have a serious chance of further succeeding in the postseason, despite being in the second most competitive division in all of baseball.