photo from bleacherreport.com: Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin says a game could go right down to a home run or a strikeout.
By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez
There are basically four ways of building a championship team:
1. Farms system
2. Free Agent signings
3. MLB Draft
4. Trade of players
Of course not one is always the easiest, but instead, a combination of all four.
“The focus next year will be winning more games and trying to win our division,” said manager Bob Melvin after the A’s lost the Wild Card game to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 at the Oakland Coliseum.
For the second year in a row, the A’s ended 97-65 in second place behind the Houston Astros. The last game of the season this year at the Coliseum had a record 54,005 attendance, a record for a Wild Card game in all of baseball. Unfortunately, the same results for the Green and Gold dating back to 2000. The A’s have lost nine consecutive winner-take all games. We have to go back to the team of the 1973 World Series’ Game 7 against the New York Mets. That was the last time the A’s won a do or die game.
In today’s baseball, things are much different. We are now in a game where is down to “home-run” or “strikeout” — both keep going up each season. For the record, winning the division is important, like Melvin mentioned, but let’s not forget that in 2005 the Atlanta Braves won the Division championship for the 14th consecutive year (1991-2005). That is the current MLB record for winning consecutive division titles. However, during that record-setting streak the Braves, under manager Bobby Cox, only won one World Series in 1995 over the Cleveland Indians. In 2014, Cox was elected to the Hall of Fame as a manager by the veterans committee.
Under the current system, it is much difficult to make it all the way to the October Classic — especially for a wild card team — with the goal of winning 12 games in the postseason to bring home the hardware.Winning your division is definitely a better way of going into the postseason for obvious reasons. A one-game Wild Card playoff is basically a “coin flip” on who is going to win. In the case of the game against Tampa Bay, I did agree with starting Sean Manaea, who was pitching great after his return, but we also have to respect Rays pitcher Charlie Morton, an established mainstay in their rotation with experience, a guy that made the last out of the World Series giving the Astros the title two years ago.
The last handful of games during the regular season the A’s were not hitting, scoring one to three runs per game and unfortunately that carried into the October 2 Wild Card game against the Rays in a 5-1 loss. The future is bright for the young A’s who are getting younger in their rotation for 2020 with Luzardo. Montas. AJ Puk joining Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers. Minus a couple of relievers and possibly Jurickson Profar the A’s position players will be mostly the same as this year. They will not need the services of veteran pitcher rentals Homer Bailey and Roark. Piscotty and Ramon Laureano now could be joined in left field by Seth Brown a young player with talent who hits left-handed. Khris Davis could use this off season to clear his mind and work toward adjusting his batting so he can have a new approach to hitting and be the Khris Davis that we all know.
Do not expect the A’s to be actively trading this winter because they do not need to They still have the core of the young players under contract. In my opinion, Marcus Semien — the team’s MVP this season — should win in arbitration.
I picked the Houston Astros to win the World Series before the season began. After they picked up starter Zack Greinke on July 31, my opinion became much more easy to make. But it is baseball, and it is not perfect science. I remember the 1988 World Series all too well, when the A’s lost to the Dodgers. I worked that series, and after that series, I learned that anything is possible in baseball so the main thing is to make it to the World Series and bring home the trophy. That should be every team’s goal. Postseasons are nice, the fans love it and get into it, but sometimes you have to deliver and go much deeper into October.
As for the A’s, they will have to wait another year for that chance and hopefully in 2020 they could be playing at the end of October.
Amaury Pi-González is the pioneer in establishing Spanish radio play-by-play broadcasts in the Bay Area since the middle of the 1970’s with the Oakland Athletics. He has been a longtime contributor to sportsradioservice.com