After beginning the second half with a three-game sweep against the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland Athletics are ready to make a run at their first American League West title since 2006.

The A’s are currently 46-46 and seven games back of the division-leading Rangers. This may seem like a lot of ground to make up, but Oakland has their schedule and their pitching on their side.

Thirty-five of Oakland’s final 71 games are at home, with 42 of those games against teams .500 or better. This does make the schedule look hard for the Athletics because of the fact that the majority of the second-half games are on the road, but the A’s will benefit from having the second easiest second half schedule in the division.

The only division team with an easier second half schedule is Seattle. This means the A’s will have an advantage over both the Rangers and Angels, the two teams they are chasing in the standings.

The problem with the A’s schedule is the Athletics’ final seven games are on the road. Oakland is six games under .500 on the road so far this season and these seven games could decide the division winner.

The Athletics will count on one of the best pitching staffs in the majors to help carry them the rest of the year. Oakland has a 3.83 team ERA, which is second best in the American League. They lead the AL in shutouts and have allowed the second fewest runs.

Although Ben Sheets has not been worth the $10 million Billy Beane gave him for the 2010 season, his veteran leadership has helped develop the young arms of Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Vin Mazzaro .

The only thing that could hold back the 2010 Oakland Athletics is the disabled list. Recently acquired Conor Jackson is currently on the DL, along with pitchers Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden. The A’s used the disabled list 17 times this year, which matches their season total from a year ago.

If the A’s can stay healthy have the talent to content for the 2010 AL West title, if the injuries keep piling up, they will not win the division for the fourth straight year.

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