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One-third of the way through 2014, A’s numbers imposing

A's have had plenty to celebrate in first one-third of the season.

A’s have had plenty to celebrate in first one-third of the season.

The last week hasn’t been much for the A’s, what with being swept in a three-game series in Toronto and then coming home and having to settle for getting a split with the Detroit Tigers.

It’s as well to be noted that the Blue Jays have the best record in the American League East. The Tigers have the best record in the AL Central. And, yes, the A’s have the best record in the AL West exactly one-third of the way through the 162-game schedule.

For the first 54 games they’ve played, the A’s have been perhaps the most dominant team in the league. It doesn’t always get reflected in the winning percentage – Toronto, Detroit and Oakland are all in the range of .600, which over the course of the year would come out to 97 wins.

Nobody else is close. But the team that is closest, the Angels at .558 heading into their game Thursday night with the Mariners, is the A’s next opponent, so things aren’t likely get to much easier.

When you look at the raw statistics, however, the A’s look rather imposing in ways that the Blue Jays and Tigers don’t.

Oakland has scored 270 runs. The A’s have allowed 170 runs. That’s a 100-run differential which no team in the league can come close to matching.

The team ERA of 2.89 is more than .60 better than anyone else in the league. Offensively, the team batting average (.249) is only 10th, but the A’s are first in walks (233), on-base percentage (.335) and stolen base percentage (88.2), second in home runs (60) and RBIs (253).

Individually, Josh Donaldson leads the league in WAR (wins above replacement) at 4.1. And he has a huge lead. The only other American Leaguer over 3.0 is the Angels’ Mike Trout, who will be here this weekend, at 3.2.

Brandon Moss (.552) and Donaldson (.529) both rank in the top 10 in the league in slugging percentage. Donaldson leads in runs scored (44) and Moss (42) and Donaldson (41) are two of the first six AL players to reach the 40-RBI mark.

The starting pitching is no less impressive. As a group, they have allowed two runs or fewer in 14 of the last 20 games and are 11-4 with a 2.15 ERA. Sonny Gray (5-1, 2.31) and Scott Kazmir (6-2, 2.36) both rank in the top five in ERA and Jesse Chavez (3-2, 2.78) is in the top 10.

For one-third of the season, it’s an impressive legacy.

The key of course will be to see if Oakland can keep playing at this level for another 108 games.

 

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.