How will the division-heavy end of the A’s season impact playoff contention?
The A’s play their final 16 games against AL West opponents, and 22 of the final 26. A key question is, how close do you have to be going into that period, and how will that potentially large shift up, or down the divisional ranking impact the season?
This is an interesting question because the A’s are known for big moves at the trade deadline. Even if the earlier part of the season goes poorly, a lot of ground can be made up with a schedule such as the one they face in 2016. Just staying in the race up to that point might be enough to make a playoff run possible, and if they are in good shape at the trade deadline, it might be time to shock the world and upgrade, instead of trading away the farm. The A’s have been in the playoffs quite a bit over the past few years, and though their methods are unorthodox, and their lineup is as fluid as it gets, they seem to find their way to October with regularity. Will this schedule set them up for a run, or knock them off a plateau?