Playoff baseball is won on pitching, and the Athletics' staff and bullpen are among the league's best.
Cy Young candidate Bartolo Colon leads the rotation with 14 wins and a 2.97 ERA, while second-year stud Jarrod Parker is 7-1 with a 2.81 ERA since May 11. A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily have been solid, and top prospect Sonny Gray earned his first win Thursday.
Relievers Pat Neshek, Jerry Blevins, Dan Otero, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook keep leads intact for All-Star closer Grant Balfour. The A's could still call on Brett Anderson, Tommy Milone and Hideki Nakajima for more help.
Oakland pitchers are known for having pinpoint control, and lead the AL in WHIP, BB/9 and opponents On Base Percentage. In fact, the A's arms rank among the league's top five in ERA, Batting Average Against, complete games, shutouts, saves, save percentage, OPS, K/BB, and total bases given up.
The San Francisco Giants have won two of the last three titles with shutdown pitching and timely hitting. Once the bats wake up, the A's should roll through September and capture the AL West crown.