The A's were rumored to be in the mix for some of the star pitchers available at the MLB trade deadline last month. Instead, they ended up with Tanner Roark.
And, as evidenced in their 5-3 win over the Yankees on Thursday night at Oakland Coliseum, one could make the case the A's are better off.
Roark posted his third consecutive quality start, limiting the Bronx Bombers to seven hits and two runs over 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven. The end result? The completion of a sweep of the best team in the AL.
The A's finished off that sweep without closer Liam Hendriks, who got the night off after completing a five-out save Wednesday. Perhaps even more impressive, Oakland did so without the aid of a single home run.
The sweep comes on the heels of another impressive series, in which the A's took three of four from the AL West-leading Astros, who sit just a single victory behind New York for the league’s best record.
Six wins in seven games -- well, it's actually seven in eight -- is impressive enough. To do so against top-level competition is difficult to overlook.
"It shows what kind of clubhouse we have, what kind of guys we have in here," Roark told reporters after the win. "Sticking together and trusting one another that if someone doesn't do the job the first time, someone else will pick them up the next time. That's what it's all about."
To acquire Roark from the Reds, the A's had to part with top-10 prospect Jameson Hannah. It likely would have cost considerably more for Oakland to land one of the available stars, but even that price might have seemed a little steep at the time.
In each of his four starts with the A’s, Roark has gone at least five innings without allowing more than two earned runs (for a total of seven). In his previous four starts with Cincinnati, he never once topped five innings, and never allowed fewer than two runs (for a total of 16).
With the A's completing the sweep, and the Indians suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the Mets, Oakland jumped into the lead for the first AL wild-card spot, just percentage points ahead of Tampa Bay. The Reds, on the other hand, won't come close to sniffing the playoff.
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Clearly, Roark has responded well to his new environment, and should the A's succeed in their pursuit of a wild-card spot, one has to imagine he'll be a lot happier than he would’ve been had there not been a trade.
If Roark keeps this up, you can bet the A's will feel the same way, too.