Oakland Athletics Can Still Be the Top American League Team

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IOctober 2, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 01:  The Oakland Athletics celebrates after the Athletics beat the Texas Rangers to clinch a playoff spot at O.co Coliseum on October 1, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics are in the postseason. That sentence looks strange.

The Oakland Athletics have a legitimate and not outlandish chance to have home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs.

That sentence looks insane.

But it is true. If the Yankees split their next two games and the A's win their last two games, then the Oakland Athletics would be the American League West Champion.

Couple that with winning the season series against the Yankees and they would have the home field for a fifth and deciding Division Series game and the seventh game of the ALCS.

A two-game scenario like that is by no means outlandish.

It just seemed like it would be for a long time. Back in December, when the A's decided to trade away young pitchers like Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey, it looked like they were giving up on 2012 before Christmas.

While being interviewed after his deal to Washington, Gio Gonzalez said on Comcast Sports Bay Area that he understood the deal because the A's were in a rebuilding mode.

Matthew Pouliot of NBC Sports called the Cahill trade a huge risk and probably a loser for the A's.

In mid-June, they were nine games under .500. They were one game away from being the worst team in the American League.

Now they are one game behind the best record in the American League.

Since June 10th, they have the best record in baseball, 66-33. The next best American League record, the Tigers, is eight games worse in the loss column.

Since that June 10th low point, they literally have won two out of every three games they played.

Now just win the final two. Winning the final two would give the A's the A.L. West by a game. They would have surpassed the Rangers, who were up by 6 1/2 games a month and a half ago.

The Rangers are the third best team in the American League since June 10th. It is not as if the two-time defending American League champion have collapsed.

But the prohibitive favorite to win the pennant all season might be playing in a do or die playoff if they can't win one of these next two games.

The Oakland Athletics are an elite team in 2012. They could be the elite team of the American League. And they have done so with the lowest payroll in the American League.

Win these next two games, A's. You have defied expectations all year.

Maybe a World Series would help you get that new stadium.