Last Thursday, the Oakland Athletics marched into Chicago as the hottest team in the American League. The red-hot A’s had won 16 of their previous 19 games entering a four-game set against the White Sox, a team that was swept by the Athletics in Oakland the week prior. But somehow, Chicago’s famous cold wind knocked the Athletics on their keisters, as the two teams split the series, with the host winning the final two contests over the weekend.
The two-game losing streak does not dismay the confident Athletics. More, it speaks to how underrated—and underachieving—the White Sox are as a team. Chicago is not as terrible as its seven-games-under-.500 record, last-place standing indicates. Oakland was lucky to squeak by the first two games of the series; otherwise the White Sox could have come away with a mighty four-game sweep themselves.
As it stands now, Oakland is now 6-0-2 in its last eight series and has whittled away at the deficit in the American League West to half a game, following the Texas Rangers’ victory on Sunday. (The A’s briefly held a half-game lead of their own over the weekend.) So despite a somewhat disappointing series split with the last-place Sox, the Athletics should not be discouraged in any way.
Still, as with every series, there are some things that we learned. Here are five lessons from Oakland’s four-game set against Chicago.