. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
There seems to be one common question going around the Majors when the Oakland Athletics are brought up “How are they doing it?”. How is this team with the 5th lowest payroll in the Majors and with a lineup filled with a lot of cast-offs from other organizations continually winning?. Of Course there are numerous answers to that question. Having one of the best Managers in the game Bob Melvin leading the way is an obvious benefit and when you combine that with the skilled wizardry of GM Billy Beane you have a definite advantage over most teams. But the truth is both Melvin and Beane can only do so much from the dugout or the General Manager’s Office. The Players on the field have to produce in order for the team to be successful.
The lineup may not be filled with a lot of so-called big time names but it does produce a lot of big time hits. These big time hits from unexpected sources is the primary reason the A’s were spraying Champagne, and going wild in the Clubhouse after clinching the AL West title last year. The season was filled with plenty of Dramatic walk off wins which were the product of super clutch hits by players who were unknown at the start of the season. From the dramatic 3 run Bomb with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th by then Rookie Catcher Derek Norris his first in the majors that helped the A’s beat their cross-town rivals the San Francisco Giants 4-2, to the 3 run Jack hit by Brandon Moss in the bottom of the 10th against Seattle to secure yet another walk-off win their league leading 14th walk-off win at the time. The 2012 A’s showed a flair for getting the big hits in the biggest moments of the game and that trend has continued into 2013.
I am sure Bob Melvin wouldn’t mind if his team didn’t need all these dramatic come from behind, late inning rallies to pull out these victories. I am also sure he would welcome a few 5-1 or 7-3 victories where his blood pressure isn’t raised to a boiling level. Unfortunately for Melvin’s heart rate his A’s seem to like the pressure to perform when everything is on the line. The bigger the Moment is, the better their performance is. Sure their team batting average isn’t among the best in baseball. Their lineup isn’t filled with a bunch of .300 hitters, but they seem to have that clutch gene that allows them to blossom in scenarios where others may shrink. Whether it’s Brandon Moss ending that Marathon 19 inning game against the Angels in April with yet another late inning Bomb or the broken bat single off of Hall of Fame bound Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 18th inning by the seldom used Rookie Nate Freiman, these Athletics have proven the name on the back of their jersey’s isn’t nearly as important as the heart beating underneath it.