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Ascending A’s trample fallen Angels

The fight for worst team in the division begins.

Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As bad as it’s been to be an Oakland A’s fan this season, the team’s already past rock bottom and is already starting to see some growth in its young core. Conversely, the Los Angeles Angels have put their fans through a rollercoaster all season and is on a steep track down with no ground in sight.

Today’s game hammered home this discrepancy. Despite having been the league’s worst team all year (minus Opening Day), the A’s looked clearly like the better team tonight across the board. JP Sears pitched his best game in nearly two months, the lineup got strong contributions from top to bottom, and the bullpen, albeit imperfectly, got the team to the finish line.

Meanwhile, the “New Look” Angels — aka the old-look Angels — looked like a defeated team, both in play and in spirit. Shohei Ohtani still got a hit and scored a run, but there’s not much else to highlight about the team’s effort tonight. With all of their splashy trade deadline acquisitions officially gone and the imaginary white flag hanging above their dugout, it was easier for once to watch the players wearing green and gold.

Sears was one of those players tonight and he reclaimed control of his season by throwing six scoreless innings, a feat he hasn’t accomplished since he held the Detroit Tigers scoreless for 7 13 innings on July 4th. He also got a trio strikeouts and earned the win, just his third of the year.

The offense behind him was equally impressive, scoring nine runs against Patrick Sandoval and company. Its peak was a five-run inning in the bottom of the 4th inning that included a Jonah Bride RBI bloop single down the right-field line and a Zack Gelof shallow hustle double that drove in a pair to give the A’s a 5-0 lead.

There were no deadweights in the A’s lineup tonight. Furthest from being deadweights were Jordan Diaz and Esteury Ruiz, each of whom had a three-hit game, highlighted by the latter’s rare two-run moonshot in the 8th inning. With the roster continuing to get more crowded with new talent, the pair of youngsters further solidified their cases to get regular playing time in 2024.

The A’s ended up taking the game 9-3 from the Halos. It’s unclear as of now which is truer: the Angels have really gotten much worse or that the A’s are really getting much better. Over the next two games, we’ll see. The team already took four out of six from the Kansas City Royals this season, making the case that they’re not actually the worst team in the lead. They might prove this weekend that they’re not even the worst team in their division anymore.

The series continues tomorrow with A’s staff leader Paul Blackburn facing off against the Angels’ Griffin Canning.