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.|
First of all, since my colleague Chengez joined this blog, I can actually see what was missing from this blog in the first place: quality. This blog has come back to life and therefore its time for me to step up to the plate. Which is what the A’s have to do in game 5 against Justin Verlander at the o.co coliseum. Hmm where have I heard that before?
Anyways, I think as a passionate A’s fan, its normal to be disgruntled after last nights performance (Game 4 that is). Its not so much that they lost at Comerica park where the Tigers were going to be potent no doubt, but more about the way they lost it. The A’s got around Fister really quickly and Coco scored the first run of the game after hitting a triple in the 1st inning. They kept on getting men on base for the entire game but rarely capitalized (surprise, surprise). Straily did not even give up a hit through the first 4 innings and the only guy who got on base was Prince Fielder thanks to his “large surface area around the plate”. Then Lowrie hit a 2 run homer to make the A’s get a 3-0 lead. After that, everything turned for the worse. Straily gives up a 3 run jack to Peralta who just came back recently from a 50-game PED suspension. But that was not what ticked me off. The A’s were down 5-4 in the the top of the 8th inning. Moss and Cespedes get on second and third base with NO OUTS! NO OUTS! And then Scherzer goes on to intentionally walk Seth Smith. Lets get that in our head once again. The A’s, 1 run down, had the bases LOADED with ZERO OUTS! ZERO! And what do they do? Reddick and Vogt promptly strike out swinging and Callaspo coundt even have the chance to drive in a run with a sacrifice fly with 2 outs. The inning ends with no damage done. That entire inning just epitomized the problem with the Oakland A’s through the series. They get men on base. They threaten to score. But they never score unless its a Home Run. Its just a hit or miss. And its hard to hit Home Runs when you face Verlander and Scherzer. Its all great if you can get men on base but if you cant capitalize, you cant do shit.
To put that in perspective, lets look at game 1. Ok, well maybe not cause the only guy who was able to get on base was Crisp with 3 walks and Cespedes with a triple and a 2 run Monster blast. Scherzer just stifled the A’s. Lets look at game 2 then. There was 5 consecutive innings where the leadoff hitter for Oakland got on base. Out of those 5 innings, in 4 of them, the leadoff man got in scoring position with 0 outs. So obviously they got around Verlander then right? Nope. Verladner did not give up a single run. Not 1. Through 7 innings. Yes, Verlander is am AMAZING pitcher and I do not want to take away any credit from him because he pitched a HELL of a game. But the only reason the A’s actually had any hope of winning was thanks to Sonny Gray. If Griffin/Milone/Parker/Colon or Straily had pitched instead, I dont think the A’s wouldve had a chance to salvage a game at home. No chance. Sonny Gray was sublime and thanks to him, the game was 0-0 in the 9th inning. Then the bases were loaded with no outs, and thankfully, Vogt came through with a hit to win it for Oakland. But that game gave a preview to Oakland woes when it comes to driving in runs with men on base. In Game 3, the runs came in courtesy of Home Runs. (Reddick, Moss, Smith). And thats my point. The A’s can drive in runs if they can hit bombs. But if that cant hit the long ball, regardless of how many people are on base, they have a really hard time driving in runs. And when you face the likes of Verlander and Scherzer, the Home Run Ball is an afterthought if not impossible to even imagine.
And now, The A’s will have to face Verlander again in a game 5 in Oakland. The positives? A massive crowd that will fuel the A’s no doubt and sewage problems that will piss of the Tigers players to no end. The negatives? Well, Verlander is Verlander especially in games like these. Last year, in a same exact scenario with a game 5 in his hand, he made the A’s look like a AAA team. And the A’s haven’t changed that much either. Also, the A’s have historically been pretty bad in Game 5’s. They haven’t won a single Game 5 in a division series under the Billy Beane era. So yes, thats daunting. But there is hope. If game 2 is any indication, it does prove that the A’s can hit around Verlander unlike the year before. So if they can actually capitalize when they get men on base, then there need be no fear. Secondly, Melvin isn’t sure whether to start Colon or Gray. I would love to see a Verlander vs Gray round II. And I hope Melvin agrees with me. Yeah, maybe the Tigers have figured our Gray a bit more, but I am going to go purely on the game 2 performance and take a high risk high reward gamble. Lets just hope that it is one that will pay off and punch a ticket to Boston for the ALCS come Saturday.
Lets hope Verlander’s reaction goes from this: