“My shit doesn’t work in the play-offs. My job is to get us to the play-offs. What happens after that is fucking luck.” –Billy Beane in Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
Billy Beane’s shit didn’t work in the playoffs once again. Justin Verlander sent them quietly into that long good night for the second straight season.
However, it wasn’t Verlander who ultimately defeated the A’s.
In both American League Division Series losses to the Tigers, the A’s pissed away games in Detroit that would’ve prevented them from having to face Verlander in decisive Game 5’s.
Once this series got back to Verlander and his assortment of mid-90s heat, a power curve, a disappearing changeup and impeccable command, it was over. The A’s had an excellent shot to win Game 2 in Detroit last year and Game 4 in Detroit this year, and both times they let those games get away to allow Verlander back into the series. Sonny Gray matched Verlander in Game 2, but he didn’t have the same command of his fastball or snap on his hook on Thursday night in Game 5He might ultimately become the ace of the Oakland staff, but with only 12 big league appearances under his belt, it was too much to expect him to compete with Verlander at his best twice in one week. Continue reading Moneyball Is Alive and Well for Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s
I meant to write about the Oakland Athletics last week when they were busy annihilating their cross-Bay rivals, the San Francisco Giants.
I was only four years old when the A’s swept the Giants in the 1989 World Series. However, when I used to stay home from elementary school—which was quite often—I would watch the film Champions by the Bay, which is about that 1989 season.
The A’s demolition of the Giants last week brought back the painful memories buried in my subconscious from the A’s 1989 World Series sweep of the Giants.
The difference between the A’s and Giants last week was Oakland‘s ability to control the strike zone. A’s hitters didn’t chase out of the zone and A’s pitchers pounded the zone with strikes. The A’s drew 25 walks in the four-game set while the Giants walked just 10 times. The A’s out-walked the Giants 25-10 and they outscored the Giants 21-15 while taking three of four. Continue reading Oakland Athletics Control the Strike Zone
The Rays returned from Baltimore to host the Oakland Athletics on Friday night in St. Pete and their stagnant offense finally came alive to win the opening game of the series, 8-3. Alex Cobb pitched a solid 7 1/3 innings and earned his second win of the season.
Oakland jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning after Coco Crisp doubled to begin the game, after Seth Smith walked Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie drove Crisp in with a single.
Brandon Moss drove in Smith and the A’s had the early lead.
Brett Anderson began the game for the A’s but he wouldn’t last past the first inning. Desmond Jennings walked to start the inning and he advanced to second base after Kelly Johnson grounded into a fielder’s choice. Ben Zobrist did a great job of shortening up his swing and punched a line drive into center field to score Jennings and the Rays opened the scoring floodgates. Two of the more unlikely candidates drove in the other three runs for Tampa Bay in the first inning, Sean Rodriguez and Jose Lobaton connected to give the Rays a 4-2 lead after the first inning. Anderson left after the first inning with an apparent ankle injury. Continue reading Rays Offense Comes Alive Against A’s