The A’s managed a split against the first place Rangers and now get to face off against the team with the best record in baseball.

Facing the best teams sure isn’t easy but it does give the A’s a chance to prove that they are real contenders. If they managed to split a series against the Yankees and went 3-3 against two of the best teams in baseball, it would go a pretty long way in showing that they are further along in the rebuilding process than they thought. A series victory would prove that the team is a serious contender for one of those wild card spots.

In case you forgot or haven’t seen the explanation, here is a quick description of how the model works:

  • I start by estimating the runs scored and allowed for each team given the starting pitcher, bullpen, defense and each team’s offense.
  • The data used in the projection model is based on the current season’s statistics to date and ZiPS projections, with the weighting shifting more toward the actual stats as the season progresses.
  • The estimated run differential is then converted into a projected winning percentage using the pythagorean expectation.
  • Then, it’s converted into an odds of winning the game using the log5 method developed by Bill James

Probables (via MLB.com):

Thursday, July 19, 7:05 PM: A.J. Griffin vs. Freddy Garcia

Friday, July 20, 7:05 PM: Tommy Milone vs. Ivan Nova

Saturday, July 21, 6:05 PM: Jarrod Parker vs. Phil Hughes

Sunday, July 22, 1:05 PM: Bartolo Colon vs. CC Sabathia

Odds:

A’s Yankees
Game 1 32% 68%
Game 2 41% 59%
Game 3 41% 59%
Game 4 30% 70%
Sweep 1.60% 16.80%
3 of 4 11.70% 38.10%
Split 31.90% 31.90%
1 of 4 38.10% 11.70%
0 of 4 16.80% 1.60%
Win Series 13% 55%
Split 32% 32%
Lose Series 55% 13%

The odds don’t favor the A’s, but in the middle games, they should have much better chances to win. The first and last games don’t look good. But with baseball, you never know.

The biggest reason that the Yankees have the edge is their offense. They have by far the best offense in baseball, and the A’s edge in pitching and defense are not nearly enough to even the scales. The one positive for the A’s that isn’t captured in the model is that the A’s have done an excellent job of out performing their FIP. The excellent pitching plus timely power has been a very potent formula in winning games. Maybe they can use their pitching friendly ballpark and some timely power to steal some games.