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A’s Clinch American League West Division For First Time Since 2013

(Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Oakland will host the first-round of the 2020 postseason at the Coliseum next week

The writing was on the wall for the Houston Astros.

After winning the American League West Division three seasons in-a-row, the Astros–in the midst of what some are calling a “shame tour” for their cheating allegations throughout the 2017 postseason–have conceded their AL West crown.

For the first time since 2013, the Oakland Athletics have clinched the American League West Division.

After winning 97 games in 2018 and 2019, the A’s have finally planted themselves atop of the division after seven years.

By clinching the division, Oakland is now guaranteed home-field advantage for the opening Wild Card Series that will begin next Tuesday (September 29th).

The A’s will likely face one of the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians or Toronto Blue Jays in the opening best-of-three series.

American League standings as of September 22

It’s a different dynamic in this year’s postseason, with a changes being made to the usual playoff format. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball has made a couple of tweaks to the postseason schedule:

  • The opening series will be best two-out-of-three instead of best three-out-of-five. Oakland will need to win Game 1 to ensure that they aren’t backed into a corner after one game.
  • There will be no days off in between games. In previous years, there would be off days after the first two-games and the following three-games. The A’s will need to hope for strong starts from their frontline to save their bullpen over the course of a five-game or seven-game series.
  • After the opening round, the Division Series, Championship Series and World Series will be played at a neutral location within a bubble–just like the NBA and NHL have successfully achieved over the last few months.

The playoffs will be hosted at the following neutral sites following the Wild Card round:

  • American League Division Series (California): Dodger Stadium, Los Angles and PETCO Park, San Diego.
  • National League Division Series (Texas): Minute Maid Park, Houston and Globe Life Field, Arlington.
  • American League Championship Series: PETCO Park, San Diego, CA
  • National League Championship Series: Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX
  • World Series: Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX

While things will look and feel different for the Athletics, they will also feel the same for the 15 other teams that will make the postseason.

In one of the strangest–if not the strangest–seasons of all time, the A’s are in a strong position to make a push for their first World Series title since 1989.

For now, the A’s will need to focus on seeding.

With only seven-games remaining in the season, Oakland is one half-game behind the Chicago White Sox for the number-two seed in the American League and 3.5 games behind the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays.

Tonight, the Athletics will open up an important three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who currently hold the number-one seed in the National League with a 38-16 record.

Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK with first-pitch at 6:40pm PST.

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