Five Defining Moments of Athletics’ 2014 Season

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Jim “The Heartbreaker” Johnson Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Johnson Closes Game 1

Athletics fans were heartbroken when beloved closer Grant Balfour didn’t return to the 2014 team but most of us were excited to see one of the game’s best closers don the green and gold. Jim Johnson was the big time and when Billy Beane dropped $10 million to acquire the elite pitcher, we all knew that this team was going to the big game. Until, of course, Johnson came out to close game 1.

For the first time in recent memory, an A’s fan was booed in his own park on his first day on the job and, whether right or wrong, justifiably so. In his short, boo filled, time with Oakland, he posted a 7.14 ERA (considerably higher than the 2.94 from 2013) and gave up 60 hits, 23 walks, and 33 runs to 200 batters in 40.1 innings. No lead was safe with Johnson on the mound and he quickly lost his closer role and eventually was dropped from the team. The light at the end of the tunnel? Sean Doolittle, who replaced Johnson as closer, turned out to be a lights out closer with an 89:8 K/BB ratio. Doolittle ended up an all star and Johnson ended up in Detroit with a 6.92 ERA.