There weren't many expectations for the Oakland Athletics entering this season. They made a splash for Yoenis Cespedes, but no one really knew what to make of the Cuban outfielder entering the season. The Josh Reddick trade seemed promising, as did the acquisition of Seth Smith, but they were tempered by the loss of Josh Willingham, to say nothing of the rebuilding tenor of the Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez trades. Oakland started the season 29th in the ESPN Power Rankings, and when it came out of the gate slowly, the club seemed easy to dismiss.
But since the end of May, the A's have heated up. They posted their first winning record of the season in June, and they have been a house afire in July. They are 14-2 for the month, including a just-completed four-game sweep of the New York Yankees. As a result, they have moved up to a season-best 12th in the rankings this week.
The knock on Oakland, as we discussed two weeks ago, is always its offense. That is still the case, but will it become a crippling factor in Oakland's playoff hopes?