Originally posted on SportsBlooded  |  Last updated 9/3/12

It’s a month a way from the end of the regular season in the MLB and two of the most unlikely teams sit atop the American League wild card standings, the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles. Not only do they sit atop the wild card, they also are threatening to grab hold of their divisions. The A’s are 9-1 in their last 10 games and only 3 games behind the Texas Rangers. After taking 2 out of 3 games in the Bronx this weekend, the O’s are only 2 games back from the New York Yankees. The Yankees travel to Baltimore on Thursday for a four game series which provides the perfect opportunity for the O’s to make a move on the division.

What a move it would be for a team that was forecasted to be at the bottom of the AL East. When the season started, the AL East was thought to be a four team race between the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays. Since then, the only other team besides the Yankees that’s lived up to this prediction is the Rays, who currently sit at 73-61, which places them 3.5 games back from the Yankees in the division and 1.5 games back from the O’s and A’s in the wild card. The Red Sox have completely fallen apart this season and the Blue Jays have been who they usually are, a mediocre team.

On September 13th, 2011 the A’s were 13 games below .500 at 63-76 and 15.5 games behind the Rangers in the AL West. If you look at the year-to-year stats, it’s tough to pinpoint the exact reason for their amazing turnaround in 2012. Their on-base percentage and average from year-to-year hasn’t changed much and neither has their ERA. They’ve put up better numbers in 2012 for all three of those stats, but the differences aren’t staggering. What has changed is their lineup. The additions of Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes to the middle of the A’s order has sparked their offense. Both Reddick and Cespedes are having All-Star caliber years with Reddick hitting .260 with 28 HR and 74 RBI and Cespedes hitting .297 with 16 HR and 65 RBI.

The A’s and the O’s are the two best stories in the bigs this year. Both of their runs at their divisions and the wild card will make for some great baseball down the stretch. Check out highlights from the A’s sweeping the Red Sox this weekend here and see how the O’s took 2 out of 3 from the Yankees here.

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