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Elephant Rumblings: Looking at the strength of schedule for the A’s second half

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Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, Athletics Nation!

Yesterday was No Sports Day. The day after the MLB All-Star Game is always the one guaranteed day on the calendar where none of the 4 major leagues has a scheduled game. Heck, even MLS didn’t even have games scheduled. Some folks may take the day as a break from their usual sports viewing routine, others may watch the ESPYs to get that little pro-sports fix. I chose to look to the future, specifically the next two and a half months of A’s baseball.

The All-Star break doesn’t ever fall evenly at the halfway point of the season. Rather than sitting at 82 games played, the A’s have already finished 93 games, with a doubleheader on the docket today. So what and who can we look forward to in the upcoming 69 games?

AL West (11-25 record against)

There are still a lot of intra-division games left to be played — over half of the remaining games in the season, in fact. The A’s were fortunate enough to pull of a series win over the Astros before the break, and their recent offensive awakening could help with the remaining July series against each Texas team. The Mariners have been on fire with a 14 game winning streak. The A’s will likely serve as fodder for them as the M’s try and make a run out of the wild card and into the division lead. The large number of late-season games against the Angels are the hardest to predict, as the Halos don’t seem to even know what their trajectory looks like. It’s a distinct possibility that Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani could be joining the A’s in the 100-loss club.

AL Central (9-15 record against)

The A’s saw most of their games against the Central in May and June, and they split the season with the Royals, and so far have whupped the Tigers. With two full series left to be played against the .500 White Sox, there’s a chance the A’s could take a few games and spoil Chicago’s Wild Card chances further. The Twins and Guardians are thankfully in the rear view, and the less said about them the better.

AL East (10-16 record against)

Considering the fact that every team in the East is above .500 right now, the A’s should consider themselves lucky that they saw so much of these teams when Oakland was in their own early-season hot streak. The tied series with the Jays, and one-shy record against the Rays, seem remarkable looking back. But with the O’s finally being competitive, winning the season against them may be out of reach. I’m fully expecting the MLB-leading Yankees to sweep the A’s this year. The Yanks have more wins than the Athletics have losses, that’s saying something in 2022.

National League (2-5 record against)

The majority of the A’s interleague matchups have yet to come. Only half of the games against the Braves and the season-opener against the Phillies have been played so far. The Nationals have taken the worst-team-in-baseball title from the A’s (for now) and seem like the only team that the A’s have a solid chance against. The Mets and Braves coming to Oakland will be nice as a chance to see some familiar faces, not so much as a chance to win some games. The recently resurgent Giants have a solid chance at winning the Bay Bridge series in back-to-back years, as sad as it is.

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