Oakland Athletics: The 25-Headed Hydra


Jun 17, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics celebrate after the final play of the ninth inning and a 10 to 6 win over Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics are the composite of a complete team. 1 through 25, every player contributes and has a role in the success that the team has enjoyed this season. In many ways, this team lends itself to Greek mythology, with the Oakland Athletics being a 25-headed Hydra, composed of platoons. If one player isn’t performing on a given day, there is another player ready to fill in at a moment’s notice. Opposing teams can hope to cut off one of the team’s heads, but there are still plenty others ready to fight back.

While many teams are composed a cyclops or two, heavy hitters that do all the heavy lifting, a cyclops can be defeated by finding their weak spot. Namely, eliminate that one eye, you gather the victory.

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Take the A’s catching platoon for instance. They have 3 catchers in Oakland at the moment, and all 3 are playing consistently. The Oakland Athletics catchers rank 3rd in baseball in RBI, hits, HR and OBP, while ranking 2nd in AVG and runs. If you rank how their catchers perform at other positions, such as RF or DH, that would bring the numbers even higher.

Statistical performances like this ring true for nearly every position up and down the lineup of the Oakland Athletics. Zeus Melvin has a bench full of lightening bolts ready at his disposal at any time, and the team knows it. They prepare to be in every game, whether it’s for an AB late, or for defensive purposes.

The A’s Achilles’ heel early in the season was the bullpen. Since Sean Doolittle took over closing duties, it has solidified the rest of the bullpen’s roles and fans are breathing much easier late in games. Entering May, Doolittle had an ERA of 5.68. Over the past 22 1/3 innings, spanning nearly 2 months, Doolittle has given up 5 hits, and struck out 35, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00 to date. Jim Johnson wasn’t up to the task, but the next man up is.

The last Greek reference (I promise) comes in the form of Eric O’Flaherty. He is the Oakland Athletics’ Odysseus. O’Flaherty is nearing a return to the majors. He will be added to an Oakland Athletics’ bullpen which has already compiled an ERA of 2.86 on the season, which is currently ranked 6th in MLB, 3rd in the AL.

At this point, it’s hard to imagine that this season will end as a Greek tragedy. This may finally be the year the Oakland Athletics climb Mount Olympus.

Ok, I totally lied about the remaining references, but you get the point.