The Oakland Athletics clinched the American League West division title on Monday, ending a six-season dry spell that had kept them from finishing on top of one of the Major League’s most competitive divisions.
The A’s, despite not playing on Monday, were mathematically ensured of the division crown after the second-place Houston Astros fell 6-1 at home to the Seattle Mariners. Houston’s loss dropped them to the .500 mark and 6.5 games behind Oakland, making the Athletics the first team to clinch first place in a division in the Majors.
Oakland has been a team that has surprised many by displacing the Astros from the top of the division, as the 2017 World Series champions were the favorite heading into the season after winning the division in each of the past three seasons.
The Athletics have been led by one of baseball’s best pitching staffs which has combined to post an excellent 3.64 ERA on the season and prop up the team’s relatively average offensive output. With baseball’s best bullpen by ERA, Oakland will be a threat to advance in the playoffs if their bats can produce enough offense to keep their heads above water.
The A’s will either be the league’s 2nd or 3rd seed in the upcoming playoffs, which are set to begin next week.