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The Athletics are killing it in the run differential department

May 18, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick

If you’re the type who likes to use run differential as a quick and dirty gauge of a team’s talent, you’re probably very impressed with the Athletics thus far. Sunday’s 13-3 victory over the Indians leaves them 3.5 games ahead of the Angels for first place in the AL West. The win also brought their run differential to a staggering +95, putting them on pace for +350 over a full season. Typically, the best teams finish in the +150-200 area.

The Athletics have nine players, minimum 80 plate appearances, with an above-average wRC+ which is a Sabermetric stat that individually weights each of the various components in which a player contributes offensively. 100 is average. Reddick is close to joining the list at 94.

Dan Straily has been the only starter who hasn’t done a good job, posting a 4.93 ERA before his recent demotion to Triple-A Sacramento. Scott Kazmir has been a godsend and Jesse Chavez has been a surprise, seeing as he was an emergency addition to the rotation when Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin succumbed to injuries. And Sonny Gray has been as good as he advertised last season. In the bullpen, off-season acquisition Jim Johnson has been the only unreliable contributor.

Many are gawking at the Tigers and they’re not wrong for doing so, but the Athletics are looking like the American League’s best team, at least at this point in the season. The Tigers are the second-best team in baseball in terms of run differential, but they’re a whopping 44 runs behind the Athletics. It’s only fitting that the Athletics and the Tigers are the class of the American League at this point, though, as they were foes in last year’s ALDS, with the Tigers narrowly escaping the five-game set.

  1. aceinthehole12 - May 18, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Let’s go Oakland.

  2. thekingdave - May 18, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    Gear up for Drew Pomeranz

  3. clydeserra - May 18, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    last TWO ALDSes.

  4. dhalb34 - May 18, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    Tigers at the A’s in a week. Gonna be a good four game series. GO A’s!

  5. zzalapski - May 19, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    Imagine how good they’d be if they didn’t play half their games in a literal sh!thole.

    • ThinkOakland - May 19, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      ZZ… Who are you?.. What’s next from out of your Literal(as you wrote). That is our Stadium, in my home City. What’s next? the “Thug” Mentality crap? Then what other creative comment lies?
      It sounds like Oakland isn’t good enough for you to even set your foot in. This City is more the better that ignorant people like you stay away. It’s a peaceful City… really. But People like you roll in here with that attitude, and leave with their tail between their legs, then blame the City and it’s people. Sad… Stay Home with your Obese Uneducated wife, and welfare babies in the Suburbs… Yea… Where everything is “Whiter than White”. And the Sun Doesn’t shine. Hey I like how the Niner’s call the Luxury Box Column. Looks like MT Davis, without the seats at Top.
      For $1.2 Bil, The Footprint looks so Similar to the O.co except for red seats. Yes, The plumbing does work better… Lot more A##h*l%$ leave more to flush out. The designers built our place for $50,000. It makes sense. Bigger pipes for all of you to sit on, at Levi’s also makes sense.

      • zzalapski - May 19, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        I was facetiously referring to the Oakland Coliseum’s well-chronicled problems with their plumbing, which are, obviously, no fault of the players themselves or their fans.

        Also, I have been to Oakland. Had a nice enough time. Could see myself visiting again.

        Also, you know as much about me as I care to about you, so you may want to cool it with the ad hominem attacks before you burst a blood vessel.

  6. holographicribs - May 19, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    All the sabermetrics in the world still can’t help them beat Justin Verlander in the playoffs.

    • scatterbrian - May 19, 2014 at 1:23 AM

      The Tigers and A’s split the two games started Verlander and Sonny Gray, who is the only starter from that series who has pitched for the A’s this season.

    • ThinkOakland - May 19, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      As an A’s Fan… This is the truth. We need Pablo Sandoval to work with Norris & Reddick. Then we will play the Giants in the World Series. Sandoval “sees” & owns Verlander. Verlander, until we change it… Owns Us. That is just the way it is. The A’s match up favorably with Every team in American League… In a 7 game series. Except Detroit. It is the reincarnation of Orel ?Hershizer? in the ’88 World Series. It is about match-up’s sometimes.

      • scatterbrian - May 19, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        As an A’s fan, it’s curious that you do not remember Game 2 from last year’s ALDS, when the A’s won a game started by Justin Verlander.

  7. APBA Guy - May 19, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    Nearly +30 in this series with Cleveland alone. Like Colorado, there are a lot of blow-outs in that run differential for the A’s, which speaks to both consistent pitching and consistent offense.

    • scatterbrian - May 19, 2014 at 1:30 AM

      Before the obligatory “they get to play the Astros….” comment comes up, remove the games vs. the Astros and the run differential would still be a ridiculous +72.

  8. kcroyal - May 19, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    Like Pete Rose, I’m putting my money against the A’s for the next 4-5 weeks. Regression is a bitch, and while I respect the A’s and their management, they aren’t this good. Things like this tend to correct itself.

    • paperlions - May 19, 2014 at 7:10 AM

      Of course, that isn’t how regression works. If a team has a true talent level of a .500 team and they win their first 20 games, you wouldn’t expect them be 20 games below .500 to finish at 81-81, you expect them to play as a .500 team the rest of the way and finish at 91-71.

      Regression does not mean that cold streaks balance out hot streaks, it just means that you expect future performance to match expectations based on true talent level.

  9. 18thstreet - May 19, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    Billy Beane’s stuff really works in April and May.

  10. sjsharksfan11 - May 19, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    I believe Justin Verlander has a stake in ownership of the Chokeland Pathetics.

    • excallq - May 19, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      The funny part is you’re a Sharks fan mocking another team for choking.

  11. dtownmytown - May 19, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    Let’s look at the teams stats. Both Detroit and Oakland suck at home as Detroit is 13-8 while Oakland is a more pedestrian 12-10. They excel on the road where Detroit is 14-4 and Oakland is 16-6. Against the East Detroit is 8-1, Oakland is 1-2,
    Central – Detroit 12-6, Oakland 9-3,
    West – Detroit 5-2, Oakland 15-11.
    I know small sample sizes to date, but Detroit has beat up on the supposedly tougher AL East of which they have played Baltimore and Boston mostly on the road. And Detroit is playing 50 games in 52 days due to postponements because of weather.

    • daveitsgood - May 19, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Nothing against the AL east, but the AL West isn’t too shabby either record-wise + run differential wife since this article was referencing RD.

    • scatterbrian - May 19, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Where are the team stats? All I see are records vs. divisions.

      Incidentally, the sample sizes here are stupid. Oakland is 1-2 vs. the AL East? This says absolutely nothing other than a team lost two out of three.

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