The A's are approaching the end of a brutal month, but what lies ahead?
Let's define some terms for the purposes of this article. An "very tough" team is one that currently has a winning percentage of .600 or better; a "tough" team is one that has a winning percentage of .550 or better; and an "easy" team is one that has a winning percentage under .500. TEX is right at .500, and (rightly, I think) doesn't count as an easy team to beat.
The A's have 3 games left in the season against a very tough team (BOS), 13 games against tough teams (although TOR's .554 just barely qualified my definition), and 24 games against easy teams. The other 19 games are against LAA and TEX.
The Angels have 9 games against very tough teams, 15 games against tough teams, and 15 games against easy teams.
The Rangers have 9 games against very tough teams, 3 games against a tough team (MIN), and 29 games against easy teams.
The Mariners have 6 games against very tough teams, 10 games against tough teams, and 16 games against easy teams.
In other words, the A's now enjoy something of a schedule advantage over the Angels and the Mariners on paper. Both have to do a lot better than the A's to keep up. The fact that the Angels are not leading the division convincingly right now does not bode well for them.
The Rangers, on the other hand, does have 10 fewer games against tough teams, if you cancel out their 6 more games against very tough teams and 5 more games against easy teams.
The Mariners have 3 more very tough games, 3 fewer tough games, and 7 fewer easy games coming up. This means that they'll also have to play better than the rest of the division if they hope to catch up.
Obviously, this is all on paper. The A's haven't always managed to beat up severely on the bad teams, though they have played quite well against the good ones. Just as obviously, the 28 games left within AL West are terribly important to take. But I think the A's need to watch the Rangers and make damn sure they take most of the 9 games left between them.