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Oakland Athletics Clinch American League West for 2nd Straight Year

Rob GoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 2016

The Oakland Athletics have clinched the American League West for the second year in a row, after the Kansas City Royals took down the Texas Rangers with a grand slam in the 10th inning, as described by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Jane Lee of MLB.com notes how Oakland fans reacted when hearing the news:

Meanwhile, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle shares the chant that overtook the coliseum amidst the good news:

The race for the division crown had been close for most of the season, but a late slide by the Rangers gave the Athletics some breathing room. The A's then finished strongly enough to secure the playoff spot with plenty of time left in the season.

Fittingly for Oakland's reputation, this year's club is full of veteran cast-offs and relative no-name players having breakout seasons.  

Josh Donaldson has been one of the biggest revelations in Major League Baseball this year, leading the team in hitting in his first full season in the majors. He is one of four players on the roster with at least 20 home runs this season, and one of seven with at least 10.

This balance up and down the lineup has helped the squad remain among the top teams in baseball in both home runs and total runs this season, ranking third and fourth in MLB in those statistical measures, respectively.

As good as the offense has been, though, the pitching staff has been just as impressive. Bartolo Colon has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this year, leading a squad that is in the top 10 in both starter and reliever ERA.

The team appears ready to make a playoff run, as long as it does not let history get in the way. Since 2000, the Athletics have made the postseason six times before this season. Unfortunately, they have won only one postseason series in that stretch, and that was followed by a sweep in the 2006 ALCS.

This year's squad will hope to change all that with a strong showing in the 2013 playoffs.

 

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