Games 13 and 14

I couldn’t find the time to write a blog about our win against Texas on Thursday, but that’s no great issue. The song remains the same for our A’s as the wins keep on coming.

The 6-4 victory against the Rangers was important because, having won the first two games, not getting the series sweep would have felt like a lost opportunity in such a short season.

A mentality of being happy with 2 wins out of 3 works over 162 games, but any chance you have to pick up another could be all-important when it comes to making the play-offs and who you play when you get there.

However, the 3-2 victory last night against the Houston Astros was another level.

Forget the past, they are a formidable opponent and, alongside the Yankees, are clearly the team to beat if you want to make it through to a World Series.

Watching the game back this morning, it was as tightly contested as you would expect between two closely-matched teams. The A’s offence still isn’t firing on all cylinders, yet you can’t complain too much when you’re on a seven-game winning streak. Zack Greinke pitched as well as expected and it took until the 13th inning before we could get across the line, but we found a way and that’s what counts.

Although there was plenty of credit to share around the A’s players, a few players deserve a special mention.

Chris Bassitt more than matched Greinke by pitching seven strong innings. I was somewhat confused during the pre-season (the original one!) when some people were doubting Bassitt’s place in the starting rotation, as it felt to me that he had done more than enough to deserve a spot. He’s been our best pitcher in the early going and it’s great to see.

Another player who was constantly criticised last season for what he didn’t do, rather than what he did, was Robbie Grossman. He’s got some timely hits during this winning streak, including his home run last night, but has also run the bases well.

I will freely admit to being underwhelmed by the signing of Tony Kemp over the off-season; however he’s another guy who when you watch him day-in, day-out you realise all the little things he can do as a member of the roster (including his pinch-running ability).

And you can’t say enough good things about the 3 innings of work that J.B. Wendleken pitched last night. He’s also a player who is easy to overlook as he’s not a lights-out closer or big star in the making, yet having guys like him on your roster makes a big difference.

Up next …

Game Two is surely going to be as competitive as the first. Left-hander Framber Valdez will start for the Astros against Frankie Montas.

It’s a day-game at the Coliseum, so a 9.10pm start here in the UK and with the bonus that it is being broadcast on TV on the BT Sport/ESPN channel.

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