Bad breaks, thin pocketbook and recent sloppy play aside, the Oakland Athletics are still the best team in the American League West. If a couple key players perform well in September, the Athletics should repeat as division champions.

Mid-August finds the A’s 1.5 games behind the Texas Rangers, with the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Houston Astros trailing off in the distance.

The revised wild-card format means second place is no longer good enough, as the Rangers found last season. A winning season can go down the drain with one playoff loss.



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