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Friday 23rd Jun 2017

Ok, let's just agree that the Oakland Athletics are indeed the best team in baseball at this moment in time and space.

With 47 wins, the Athletics are tied for the best record in the Majors and have the best record in the American League.

Their run differential of +135 is 101 runs better than the Brewers, who are tied with Oakland with each team holding 47 wins.

The team's 3.02 team ERA--culled with the likes of Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz--is the second best in baseball.

Finally, those upstart Athletics have actually won a pair of AL West titles in a row without anyone even close to being a star a la Adrian Beltre or Mike Trout, two of the dominant players in the American League West, and they are in line to win their third straight.

Of course, I understand there is a lot of season remaining, and the arms of Chavez and Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray, none of whom is used to tossing more than 180 innings in the big leagues, and Oakland could fall from their lofty perch, but that would mean the Angels or resurgent Mariners would likely win.

And, while we know winning the playoffs and series is largely a faction of a good team being hot at the right time, the Angels are no strangers to the postseason, not to mention while Seattle has been out of the postseason mix for awhile, the Rangers have not, with World Series appearances in both 2010 and 2011, almost making it back in 2012 save being bumped off by the then upstart Athletics.

But, I noticed in that same 2012 that three of the AL West clubs were in the postseason in the first year of the new wild card format, a pretty tough feat. And, it was then I determined that without question, the AL West was indeed the toughest division in baseball.

That continued to be true in 2013 despite the addition of the weakling Houston Astros (although watch out, they will be joining the tight fray in a little over a year).

Alas, those poor Rangers would likely be in the mix if they did not have 18 of their players on the DL as I write, and considering that, the fact that Texas has 35 wins--equal to or better than eight other teams--is pretty much amazing.

Still, the top three teams in the AL West have 41 or more wins, and no other division in the Majors can boast that, nor can any other division claim to have a league won-loss mark as good as the division.

Meaning, the days of the Yankees and Red Sox and Orioles and Blue Jays--and even the Rays, who are struggling like the Rangers--being the default tough place to play are gone.

It is true that sports and teams and winning are things that are cyclic. That means one of these days even the Cubs will win it all. Just not this year.

Similarly, if we just look at baseball, where up until the 70's the American League so slaughtered the NL during the mid-season classic, and then suddenly the NL had the best players and was in charge. And, again the tide has turned back to the Junior Circuit.

Now, maybe I live in a vacuum, but unlike the days when the AL East was the toast of things, I see very little written about just how good the Athletics and their divisional co-horts are.

But, I have seen it for awhile now.

And, the rest of the world better watch out.

Because being under-rated, which Oakland is, just seems to make them better.

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