The Oakland A’s have taken the idea that the baseball season is a marathon to heart. They cannot afford to follow that mantra this season.
Over the years, the Oakland A’s have followed a similar pattern. They would begin the season slowly as they learned the strengths and weaknesses of their roster. Then, come late June and into July, the A’s would put their foot on the gas, and roar through the second half of the season en route to contending for a postseason berth.
That philosophy works well most years. The old adage is that the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. Two or three excellent weeks does not a season make, as the Mariners from 2019 can easily attest. The A’s have taken that adage to heart.
While that philosophy works well most years, that will not be the case this season. The season will last for only 60 games, turning that marathon into a sprint. A hot start could carry a team all the way to the postseason.
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Conversely, a slow start could doom a team to irrelevance. The first three weeks, which typically have minimal bearing on the season, will be vitally important. Going 2-10 over a two week stretch, while not a harbinger of doom normally, could be enough to end any postseason aspirations.
This is something that the A’s have to be particularly concerned about. They have been a second half team, something that manager Bob Melvin admitted. However, the A’s may be able to have a hot start this season, just from knowing the vast majority of their lineup. Only a few bullpen spots are up in the air, with second base likely to be a platoon between Tony Kemp and Franklin Barreto.
Perhaps that will make a difference. The A’s, while relatively young, do have enough experience regarding the hunt for the postseason. It is a battle they have faced in each of the past two seasons, and they understand the urgency required. That urgency will be needed from the start of the 2020 season.
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The Oakland A’s tend to get off to a slow start and turn it on in the second half. This year, they will not have that luxury.