Though there are still eight weeks of baseball left in the 2013 season, it wouldn't be hyperbolic to say this miniseries between the Oakland Athletics and Cincinnati Reds was extremely important. After all, the A’s entered the two-game midweek matchup carrying something they haven’t had for quite some time: concern. And after losing both games to Cincinnati, that mid-level worry just ramped up a notch, as Oakland now sits alongside the Texas Rangers in first place in the American League West.
Thanks to the series sweep at the hands of the Reds, Oakland has now lost six of its past seven games, and eight of 18 since the All-Star break.
The one-time six-game cushion atop the AL West, just a mere 10 days ago, has all but disappeared. And even for a clubhouse as loose and confident as the Athletics are, the panic meter is inching into the reddest of levels.
Yes, there is a lot of baseball left to be played; but the Athletics understand the magnitude of being swept by Cincinnati. The A’s did not gain any momentum during this interleague showdown; and worse, Oakland appeared to simply not show up, looking lackluster in just about every phase of the game.
Given it was a short two-game set against the host Reds, there are some very succinct lessons the A’s learned during this series. Harsh, stark realities that now should have the team shaken. A lot. Here are five takeaways from the Athletics’ series against the Cincinnati Reds.