It was before the All-Star break when Athletics first baseman Matt Olson credited Oakland for being a second-half team.
A’s fans would brush that off to an excuse, but historically, it makes sense. During the wild-card era, Oakland’s 2001, 2002 and 2012 teams all provided an uptick in numbers once they returned from the All-Star break.
It’s no different these days.
“We’ve done the same thing the last three years, or four years kind of thing,” A’s starter Chris Bassitt said Thursday after the 17-0 win over the Cleveland Indians. “Once August hits, this group seems to hit another gear and turn it on when a lot of other teams get tired, a lot of guys get tired. We seem to, I don’t know, find extra energy and go on this run and just try and carry it through the whole entire year. I think it’s just the mindset we’ve had as a team for the last couple years that we just don’t let each other get tired kind of thing.”
The A’s are 14-8 since returning from the All-Star break on July 16. They’ve also won their last seven games in a row.
The trade deadline certainly helped.
Acquiring outfielder Starling Marte from the Miami Marlins, reliever Andrew Chafin from the Chicago Cubs and veterans Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison from the Washington Nationals added to the momentum.
“I think we made those trades, we got those guys, and sometimes it just takes a little time for everybody to gel and kind of play together,” Chapman said. “That’s how we roll. I think coming back from the All-Star break we got off to a slow start, and I think a lot of us were scuffling a little bit, but you know it seems like Marte and J-Hay, Gomes and Chafin all came in and gave us a little bit of a boost.”
Chapman couldn’t exactly put a finger as to why the A’s get the extra energy in the second half, but he didn’t appear to worry.
“We’re starting to play some really good baseball and I think we have that feeling that no matter what the score is, or what inning it is, we can find a way to win that game,” Chapman said. “Even when we were losing, there was no panic.”
In three games, the A’s swept the Indians in Cleveland and will continue on the road heading to Arlington for a three-gamer against the Texas Rangers.