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Oakland A's: 3 Keys to Staying Above .500 in the Second Half

Brandon Hicks jumps on to home plate after blasting a walk-off home run against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
Brandon Hicks jumps on to home plate after blasting a walk-off home run against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Peter FournierContributor IIJuly 19, 2012

The Oakland A's became a winning team in the past few weeks in exciting and powerful ways, crushing their way to a road series sweep over the Minnesota Twins and splitting a pair of games with the Texas Rangers, the latter in walk-off fashion.

What's it going to take for the A's to maintain an above .500 record in the next few months? They have to do these three things:


Keep the power numbers up

There is no need to sit and debate what got Oakland the sweep over the Twins. Nine home runs in three games just stampeded Minnesota. It's hard to compete with a team which can do that and hold an offense to less than four runs per game, as the Twins showed.

Yoenis Cespedes also needs to stay hot. Technically a rookie, Cespedes was named the AL Player of the Week after the Twins series, finishing 8 for 14 with two home runs and six RBIs. He boosted his overall average to .288 with three hits in the Rangers' series. When Cespedes gets on a roll, however, the A's do big things.


Maintain pitching dominance

That doesn't mean the A's need to shutout every opponent, but to at least hold them to around four runs or less per game.

If they do this, and provide a steady dose of runs, it's provides a recipe for continued success. Ryan Cook also needs to keep up his stellar performance as the team's All-Star rookie closer.


Keep walking off wins

In addition to the excitement of walk-off wins, they're making the difference in the win-loss column too. The A's have nine walk-off wins after Brandon Hicks' walk-off home run. That pretty much puts them well over the .500 mark.

With Oakland just half a game back of an AL wild card spot, these three things alone can make it a consistent winner. 

That's a far cry from what anyone expected from the team on opening day.

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