New Year, Same Old Story
Justin Verlander in game 5 vs Oakland in the ALDS in 2012:
9 IP 11 K’s 4 Hits 0 ER W
Justin Verlander in Game 5 vs Oakland in the ALDS in 2013:
8 IP 11 K’s 2 Hits 0 ER W
How frustrating is it to see one dude who makes as much money as 1/3rd of the entire Oakland A’s franchise shut them down time and time again? To put more stats into play, Verlander has 30 Consecutive Shutout innings against Oakland in the Postseason. Yet this lad gets lit when he faces Pablo Sandoval. Yes, Verlander is AMAZING, and I admire him, but it is hard to not start hating someone who has literally shut the door for Oakland to advance to the ALCS 2 years in a row single-handedly. This is exactly why I dreaded a Game 5 to happen. The A’s could have shut shop and ended the series in Detroit in game 4. They didnt. And then they come back to o.co for Verlander to do the honors.
Last year, I didnt feel so gutted. Mainly because of the game 4 heroics by Crisp, Donaldson, Reddick and Smith but also because what Oakland did last year was simply shocking. Nobody expected them to win the division and make it to the playoffs when the season started. And therefore it was an amazing story that we as fans relished and enjoyed being part of. But this year, it was different. There were legitimate expectations for this team to perform during the playoffs. And they coundt get the job done. I dont want to take anything away from the team since they push above their weight in big ways every time they make it to the postseason. What they do as a franchise is remarkable with limited resources. But is it frustrating to see the same team with the same pitcher putting up an identical performance again.
I dont blame anybody for that series. Not one single person. Not Billy Beane, not Bob Melvin, nor any of the players. Because we can sit back and cherry-pick supposed mistakes that Melvin made during the games. But guess what, hindsight is 20-20. But I will blame the ownership for not letting this team build to compete with the big guys. Lets look at the 4 teams that have made it to the Championship series. The Dodgers, Tigers, Red Sox and Cardinals are in the top 10 list of baseball team payrolls. The A’s ownership should learn their lesson by now. You cant win shit in the postseason unless you spend some serious money. And no you dont have to go all cash crazy like the Dodgers. But emulating the Cardinals would be a perfect model. The Cardinals have an excellent farm system and they have enough money to keep their developed players in their franchise. The A’s have the former, but not the latter. If Wolff was willing to inject even $30 million more into the A’s payroll, they can sign up somebody like Verlander or keep someone with the team for years to come with those resources. Cabrera, Fielder and Verlander go on to make more salary than the entire A’s franchise combined. Yet, 2 of the 3 of them were key in eliminating the A’s. And therefore, we just have to face reality. Money buys you success during playoff time. No, spending money like idiots does not help at all. If the A’s do what the Phillies and Angels do, then we would be doomed. But spending it wisely to buy 1 SOLID hitter to bat 3rd in the lineup and 1 really good pitcher to lead that starting rotation will do the trick. But for that you need money. And when the ownership is as cheap as it is in Oakland, that wont happen anytime soon.
Coco Crisp, Grant Balfour, Chris Young and Colon will likely be gone this offseason. It would be nice to have Coco around although Micheal Choice seems to be a promising prospect to fill in the CF void. Reddick needs to improve offensively to stay with the team despite that amazing glove and fielding of his. I dont think the team will be much different in 2014 other than a few changes. Addison Russell might be filling in the SS role anytime soon accompanying Jed Lowrie with Donaldson and Moss at the Corners. Vogt looks like someone who is gonna stay at the Major league level as a backstop. Cespedes will be entering his 3rd year of his 4-yr contract. Gray and Parker will spearhead the Starting rotation along with Griffin, Milone and possibly Anderson. And the bullpen looks to be more or less the same. Will the A’s make a push in the postseason come 2014? We shall see in a years time.
|They Might be fighting now, but don’t be surprised if they become teammates next year.|