13) Last three years, Oakland A’s finished last in AL West, winning 68-69-75 games.
A’s have the lowest payroll in the major leagues, but they made the playoffs this season, going 97-65, something no one thought possible back in the spring. Great managing job by Bob Melvin; this is 4th time in last seven years Oakland is in the playoffs, but first time since 2014.
How they’ve gotten to this point is really pretty amazing.
12) Oakland has used 53 players this season, 33 of them pitchers.
Their two best starting pitchers right now are Mike Fiers and Edwin Jackson; Fiers’ first game with the A’s was August 8, Jackson’s first game was June 25. Jackson is pitching for his 13th major league team.
11) Kendall Graveman was Oakland’s Opening Day starter; he lasted until May 11 before he blew his arm out.
Sean Manaea pitched a no-hitter against Boston, but he got hurt August 24 and is done until 2020. A’s went 16-11 in Manaea’s starts this year- they acquired him in the Ben Zobrist trade when Kansas City made their World Series run in 2015.
Gossett, Triggs, Montas, Blackburn started a combined 31 games; A’s went 17-14 in those games.
10) February 12, 2016, the A’s traded two minor leaguers to Milwaukee for Khris Davis, who has gone on to hit 133 homers, knock in 335 runs. Pretty good trade.
One of the minor leaguers, Jacob Nottingham, has appeared in nine major league games. Davis is mostly a DH, so he wouldn’t have done Milwaukee much good, but a damn good trade.
9) On March 12, 2018, Oakland signed C Jonathan Lucroy, giving their pitchers/defenses an anchor, the team a leader. Lucroy hasn’t hit much, but this will be his third straight year in the playoffs (Texas 2016, Colorado 2017). His acquisition was huge for the A’s.
8) Ramon Laureano is a 24-year old OF who hit .227 in the AA Texas League LY; when you hit .227 in the hitter-friendly Texas League, it is usually time to start looking for a new career, but since making his Oakland debut August 3, Laureano has an on-base% of .364, is a terrific CF with a great arm- he doubled a runner off first base in Anaheim with a throw that went 107 yards in the air!!!!
A’s got him from Houston in a trade for a pitcher who went 5-8 in A ball this year.
7) When they make Moneyball 2, the story of Stephen Piscotty’s family will be front/center. St Louis was going to trade Piscotty last winter, but his mother had Alzheimer’s and he wanted to be close to her in her final months, so Piscotty asked to be traded to the A’s or Giants.
Last December, he got traded to Oakland and has hit 27 homers with 88 RBI, many of them in key spots. Quite a story.
6) Last July, the A’s were awful and Washington needed bullpen help to make the playoffs, so Oakland dealt Doolittle/Madson to Washington for Blake Treinen and two minor leaguers (one of whom is Jesus Luzardo, a big prospect).
Treinen has turned into one of the best closers this season, with 38 saves. Luzardo is expected to be a star down the road.
5) 41-year old Fernando Rodney (acquired August 9) and Jeurys Familia (July 21) pitch the 7th and 8th innings if the A’s are winning. When your starting pitchers are mostly all hurt and have a hard time finishing six innings, you load up on relievers and hope the starting pitcher gets 15 outs. Lou Trivino pitched the 6th inning most of the season, when needed.
4) Oakland’s infielders are very good; a pair of Matts, Chapman/Olson are young corner infielders who appear headed for stardom. Chapman and Nolan Arenado and the two best defensive 3B in the major leagues right now.
Marcus Semien/Jed Lowrie give the A’s solid defense up the middle and timely hitting- Lowrie knocked in 99 runs. It is so unusual for a playoff team to have starting pitching being the weakest part of the team.
3) On June 5, the A’s lost 6-4 to the Angels, dropping them to 34-36; since then, Oakland is 63-29, the best record in MLB during that time. An astounding turnaround.
2) Bob Melvin managed the Mariners for two years, Arizona for five; this is his 8th year with Oakland, his hometown team. Can’t imagine why he got fired from the other places; he is calm, smart and guys play their butts off for him, otherwise a 34-36 team wouldn’t go on a 62-27 run. Excellent manager.
1) This is the 50th anniversary of the A’s first season in Oakland, after they moved west from Kansas City. It has been a great season for these guys; hopefully it’ll last another month or so