Oakland Athletics and SF Giants: First Prove You Can Make the Playoffs
By Jason Burke
Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
In his latest article for the Giants, Mark O’Neill brought up 5 talking points, gave 3 to the Giants, 2 to the A’s and then dropped the mic like Chris Rock, as if there was nothing else to say.
Of course he would resort to a 5 game series, the A’s kryptonite. Since this is an ongoing battle, and is for bragging rights in the Bay Area, it seems as if this should be a 7 game format. Mark also took a week to compose his argument, or about as long a layoff as the Tigers had before getting to play a game between the ALCS and the WS in 2012. In the playoffs, the team with the long layoff statistically loses much more often. More on that later. Let’s just say, this outcome won’t be the same.
Let’s talk about what’s happened in the past week with both teams first. On Monday, Matt Cain pitched a perfect 5 innings in Spring Training! The Giants lost that game 3-2 to the Cubs. I started this series of articles off by saying that the Giants were counting on bounce back years from a lot of players (mainly pitching) AND didn’t add enough offense to make a huge impact. Michael Morse, the key acquisition of the offseason, with all of his strength and home run prowess–has yet to go deep. He IS hitting .235 though. Wait, Gregor Blanco already did that. Couple this lack of productivity at the plate with his sub-par fielding, and this should work out great! Think back to all of the balls that Blanco dove for last year, completely missed, and let roll to the wall. Now multiply that by 10, and you have Morse’s defensive ability. So I score a point for myself here right? That’s how this works? 1-0 A’s. Or 3-3 if you count all of Mark’s points as valid.
Side Note: Michael Morse seems like a fairly nice guy, and all of this was meant in fun. I wish Michael a healthy season and stat-padding Home Runs that don’t earn any victories for the Giants. Good luck this season!
The A’s were dealt some bad news on Friday. Both Jarrod Parker (forearm) and A.J. Griffin (elbow) are scheduled to visit doctors in the coming days. It is presumed that both will miss the start of the season, if not longer. This would be a huge blow to many teams, but what’s the one thing that any baseball fan knows about the A’s? They develop young arms. Slated to take their places are Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez. Milone has very similar stats to Griffin, and the fact that he is a lefty may actually help the A’s chances. Chavez is being promoted from the long-relief role into the 5th spot in the rotation.
Since Giants’ fans are so excited by spring stats (because they totally count) let’s look at Chavez’s. 3-0, 12.2 Innings, 8 Hits, 2 Walks, 0.789 WHIP and 12 K’s. Oh, and a 0.00 ERA. I’m not saying he’s going to go out there and win 20 games or be a Cy Young candidate, but what I am bringing attention to is this: how would the Giants feel if they lost Cain and Vogelsong in the same day? Last year they just lost “Vogey” and it cost them a season. The A’s aren’t sunk by any means. As I have said all along, this team is deep. Are these the two guys they planned on having in there? No. Are they capable of performing well until reinforcements arrive? Hell yeah.
I won’t even take a point for that. Let’s just say it’s still 3-3 and keep rolling.
Remember a few paragraphs ago when I mentioned the Tigers being well rested working against them in the playoffs? That brings me to another point. The Giants have been a very lucky postseason team. This is not meant as a dig against the Giants at all. The Giants still had to win the games and keep grinding, and I understand that. Just stick with this line of thought.
Brooks Conrad ring a bell? Conrad is only slightly better on defense than Michael Morse. Conrad made a slew of errors that cost the Braves the ALDS in 2010. Without those errors, they easily beat the Giants. In 2012, the Giants were lucky that because the Tigers were so good, they actually swept the ALCS and had to wait a week to play again. In that time they got rusty. The Justin Verlander that faced San Francisco was not the same guy that pitched against the A’s prior. Again, I’m not saying they didn’t earn their titles, but there is an argument that can be made.
The A’s on the other hand have had poor luck the past 2 seasons. I’ll start with last season, because it’s simple. In Game 4, a fan interfered with a fly ball that Josh Reddick was about to catch (You know that’s true. You saw him rob Morse twice.) and instead of being an out, it was ruled a home run, A’s lose. In 2012, Major League Baseball brought in a second wild card team, which added a wild card play-in game. To make room for this, they eliminated a travel day during the Division Series. To eliminate the travel day, they swapped where the series would start. The home team (Oakland) would first play 2 games on the road. That’s bad luck. Here is where it gets worse.
If the first game had been played in Oakland like it should have been the A’s would have won the game. There were 2 balls hit by A’s players to dead center that went to the wall, but were knocked down by the brisk Detroit air. In Oakland, those would have been over the fence, A’s win in 4 and the magical season continues, and the legend of Verlander never begins.
Again, no points awarded, but try not to get too chesty about performing in the playoffs when there is definitely a bit of luck involved in winning any Championship.
In the last article, Mark said,
"“Unfortunately, we’re back to that irrelevant business of counting regular season victories. No one cares.”"
I find this a little funny, because regular season wins do count. In fact, that is how baseball determines who makes the playoffs. By my calculation the A’s had more regular season wins last year and MADE the playoffs, and the Giants had less–20 less, and missed the playoffs. Heck, the A’s had more playoff victories in 2013 if that’s all that matters. The Giants, lacking wins in the regular season, missed the playoffs. The proof is in the playoffs right? If you want to keep it recent, that’s as recent as it gets.
So I suppose that means I win 4-3 right? As someone left in a comment, #TeamJason
If you’re interested in catching up on what’s been said, here is the list of articles in order, top to bottom. This has been a fun series, and I have a feeling it’s far from over.
Why the Oakland Athletics will be Better Than the SF Giants in 2014
by Jason Burke
Why the SF Giants will be Better Than the Oakland Athletics in 2014
by Mark O’Neill
Oakland Athletics: A Giant Rebuttal
by Jason Burke
San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics: The Proof is in the Playoffs
by Mark O’Neill