Sunday, September 28, 2014

The MLB Playoffs Begin Today, And My A's Are Going Down

Yup, That's The Feeling
No team in baseball history has ever failed to make the playoffs after having the best record in baseball at the All Star Break... but all we need is two more terrible days for the dictionary definition of a beleaguered team, which is my Oakland A's, and we're going to have that.

They will, of course, be called chokers... but to be fair, it's been far more of a case of injury than infirmity. In the first half, they won with a devastating offense, with All-Star corner infielders and a rotating cadre of outfielders who made teams lose on a daily basis. They also had incredible output from their catchers, great defense all over the field, a deep and reliable bullpen, and starting pitching that was clearly performing miles above their level.

So what happens? Well, first baseman Brandon Moss slumps, then gets hurt, and plays anyway. Third baseman Josh Donaldson is playing hurt with a knee issue. CF Coco Crisp has played hurt, which is to say, he's played badly. RF Josh Reddick can't stay healthy. C John Jaso is done for the year due to concussion. and C Stephen Vogt and C Derek Norris have faded. OF Yoenis Cespedes is in Boston, traded out for the Jon Lester rental.There isn't a single offensive player of note on the roster who is playing as well as he did in the first half, let alone better.

The guys playing in their place? Well, DH Adam Dunn has been here for a month to show that retirement is a fine idea; he's great if you like to see swings and misses at any quality fastball. OF Sam Fuld is back from Minnesota, and doing what he can, but he's a clear OF4/5 type who gets exposed with extra ABs.PR Billy Burns is here just to steal bases, and got caught tonight in Texas with the team down a run in the ninth. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Saturday, they lost to a spot starter in Texas while the Mariners were winning in extra innings.Today, it will be entirely up to SP Sonny Gray, setting a new career high in innings pitched with every out he gets, in Texas to try to stop the last amount of humiliation. Meanwhile in Seattle, against an Anaheim team that's playing for absolutely nothing, SP Felix Hernandez will make the biggest start of his life, with the Mariner hopes and ERA title on the line. Oh, and in his last start, King Felix got punked by the Blue Jays in a game that looked like it had sank Seattle, before the A's buffoonery brought them back into it.

Honestly, I don't know what to root for. I don't want to see this club play any more; I haven't enjoyed watching them do much of anything for the last two months, and I think they'd be Dead Team Walking, either in Game 163 against the mariners or in the Play-In Game against the Royals or Tigers. Then I wonder why I don't think a team that is no longer playing with Choke History on their necks to turn things around, because, well, it's baseball and that happens all the damned time...

There's the possibility of three Game 163s, actually, since Detroit-KC and Pittsburgh-St. Louis is all in the same boat. And I suppose this all further validation of how MLB is wise to add a second wild card, but the plain and simple fact of the matter is that my A's are 9-20 in their last 29 games... and just should not be playing meaningful ball any more. The fact that they are still isn't all sunshine and cherries... and if they somehow survive and thrive, that's not a great moment for MLB. (But honestly, the A's have lost 5 of 6 to the freaking Rangers. Let's just say that I'm counting on two more losses, the last against Seattle in Game 163, and more than a little relief.)

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule