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A’s Hold Two-Game Lead in Wild Card Race, But AL Pennant Odds Barely Better than Rays & Indians

Oakland A's celebrate a run against Baltimore.
The Oakland A's are listed at average odds of +1000 to win the AL pennant. Photo by KA Sports Photos [Flickr].
  • The average odds of the Oakland A’s winning the American League pennant are at +1000
  • The A’s hold a 1.5-game edge over the Tampa Bay Rays and a two-game advantage on the Cleveland Indians in the chase for the two AL Wild Card postseason spots
  • Oakland was a Wild Card team last season

The Oakland A’s look to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to the American League Wild Card race. But are they worthy of a look as AL pennant contenders?

Into the last week of regular-season play, Oakland (94-62) hold a 1.5-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays and a two-game margin over the Cleveland Indians as those three teams chase down the two AL Wild Card sports in the postseason.

Oakland currently sits at +1000 in the American League pennant odds, also ahead of both the Rays (+1400) and Indians (+1500).

The longest odds for Oakland to represent the AL in the World Series are +1200:

2019 American League Pennant Odds

Team Odds
Houston Astros -125
New York Yankees +250
Minnesota Twins +800
Oakland Athletics +1200
Cleveland Indians +1400
Tampa Bay Rays +1400

Odds taken on 09/24/19.

Oakland lost last season’s AL Wild Card game to the New York Yankees.

A’s Starters Pitching In

Starting pitching was anticipated to be an Oakland weak spot this season but lately, it’s coming up all A’s.

Oakland’s 49 percent rate of quality starts puts the Athletics sixth overall among major-league pitching staffs, well above the MLB average of 37 percent. Mike Fiers (15-4), Brett Anderson (12-9) and Chris Bassitt (10-5) are into double digits in the win column.

Frankie Montas (9-2) comes back this week from his 80-game suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. He’s slated to get the start Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Sean Manaea, who missed the first five months of the year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum last September, has won three starts this month.  He’s allowed just three runs over 23.2 innings in four starts since returning from the injured list in early September.

Oakland is also fifth in the majors with 250 home runs.

Schedule Favors A’s

An 8-3 loss Sunday to the Texas Rangers was just Oakland’s second loss in the last 12 games. But since Tampa Bay lost to Boston the same day, it didn’t impact the Athletics and their pursuit not only of a Wild Card spot but home-field for the one-and-done AL Wild Card game on October 2nd.

Oakland starts a two-game set Tuesday at the 70-86 Angels, then go to Seattle for four with the 66-90 Mariners.

The Athletics are 12-5 against the Angels, and 8-7 when facing the Mariners. Oakland is 42-33 on the road.

The Rays have two at home with the New York Yankees, who’ve already clinched the AL East, followed by three at Toronto against the 64-93 Blue Jays. The Bronx Bombers hold a 12-5 advantage over the Rays. But Tampa Bay has posted a 12-4 slate against the Jays.

The Tribe, 6-2 in their last eight, go to Guaranteed Rate Field for three with the Chicago White Sox. The ChiSox are 9-7 against the Indians this season.

Then Cleveland gets three at the Washington Nationals, broiled in the National League Wild Card fight.

AL Wildcard . . . And Then Some?

Could Oakland actually win the AL pennant, something they’ve not done since 1990?

They’ve got a believer within their own division. Rangers manager Chris Woodward made a strong case for Oakland after facing the Athletics on the weekend.

It’s a nice thought but a hard one to buy. The Athletics could get past the Yankees. They’re 4-2 against them this season. But Houston is too powerful. The Astros took 11 of 19 from Oakland this season.

Pick: Houston Astros (-125).

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