10-Year Comparison: Better Days Lie Ahead for Oakland
The 2015 Oakland Athletics so far have been as ugly as former Kansas City Athletic, Don Mossi.
Through the first two months of play, they achieved an abysmal record of 20-34, primarily due to their inability to win close games. They currently are 4-16 in one-run ballgames and are 0-6 in extra innings contests (Finally got a walk-off though!). What makes it even worse is that through the 62 games they’ve played, they’ve outscored their opponents by a 10-run margin. Not to say they doesn’t need improvement, but there are 18 other teams – over half the league – with worse scoring margins, who have a better record than the A’s. This alone tells me better baseball lies ahead for Oakland.
Hope still remains, and in fact a former A’s team should stand as the beacon. Exactly 10 years ago, the 2005 Oakland team held a 17-32 record at the end of May with not a hint of improvement. Yet, they turned their season around with much less than talent than the current roster in order to end the season with an 88-74 record, just missing the playoffs. This was a team whose best pitcher was arguably rookie Joe Blanton. Yes, Joe Blanton. The same guy who’s only had one winning season since 2007. The same guy who hasn’t had an ERA under 4.70 since 2009. The same guy who was 2-14 in 2013. That guy.
On the offensive side, the ’05 team wasn’t all that impressive either. Here were the predominant starters throughout the year:
C Jason Kendall
1B Dan Johnson
2B Mark Ellis
3B Eric Chavez
SS Bobby Crosby
LF Bobby Kielty
CF Mark Kotsay
RF Nick Swisher
DH Scott Hatteberg
I mean c’mon, look at this lineup. Besides Chavez, Swisher, and maybe Ellis or Kotsay, there’s no one who makes you sit back and say wow. Bobby Kielty’s claim to fame was killing the A’s in the ‘02 playoffs for the Twins. Jason Kendall was famous for never hitting a home run. Bobby Crosby won AL Rookie of the Year in ’04 and then fell off harder than Mark Hamills acting career, while Dan Johnson was the guy who eventually got replaced by Daric Barton (that itself should say it all). I won’t say
anything about Hatteberg because we all love Scotty, but I think we can all agree that at first glance, this team is about as impressive Stephen Curry’s performance in both Game Two and the first half of Game Three in the Finals.
But the ‘05 team bounced back, Steph bounced back, and in fact, the whole Warriors team bounced back. And that’s what I believe our current Athletics will do. They are stocked with offensive talent and potential within their pitching staff, but due to injuries we haven’t been able to see them come full circle. Currently, the ’15 A’s have a Pythagorean W-L record of 32-30, which is an estimate of a team’s winning percentage given their runs scored and runs allowed.
Some consider Pythagorean W-L a stat that reveals how ‘lucky’ a team is and luck is something that can change in the blink of an eye. The reason why I wouldn’t panic at all, especially considering the A’s have began to pick it up lately.
After all, you can’t be mad at a team that has had the luck