In any professional sport, wins are extremely difficult to come across. Even though the Oakland Athletics fell far short from expectations in the postseason, they still managed to win one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
The Athletics held control of the American League West crown for the second consecutive year by recording a breathtaking 96 wins, which ranked second for best record in the American League behind the Boston Red Sox. When considering the successful season Oakland was able to put together, I would certainly not claim their entire year as a disappointment.
Moreover, another tremendous season for the Athletics ended in a devastating manner. Oakland went on to face the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS for the second consecutive year, and the big right-hander Justin Verlander pitched an absolute gem, resulting in a complete domination of the swinging A’s. It was nothing less than a nightmare for the green and gold, as the October demon struck the Coliseum once again.
After back to back seasons which ended in an elimination game in result of Verlander’s presence on the mound, I believe it’s fair to officially assert Justin Verlander as Oakland’s kryptonite. Verlander continues to dominate the swinging A’s each and every time he steps on the rubber. To classify the A’s whole season as a disappointment would be speaking purely out of emotion, although game five of the ALDS in particular was incredibly heartbreaking and disappointing.
Keep in mind, the A’s have struggled against a projected future Hall of Famer. Verlander is undoubtedly one of the most dominate pitchers in the league, and he seems to notch his game to another level when the stakes are high. Verlander did not sign a seven year $180 million contract for no reason, for he is the highest paid pitcher in the game. The feared veteran carries a Cy Young award and a MVP under his belt, but most importantly, he’s a cold blooded winner.
One game does not negate the positives of a 96 win season and a consecutive division title. Yes, it was by far the biggest game of the season, but there is no one game that takes away everything a team had accomplished prior. Was it disappointing that the A’s were not able to overcome Verlander and advance to the ALCS? Without a question. Nonetheless, Oakland fans need not to forget what this team has been able to accomplish the past couple of seasons. The A’s have solidified themselves as one of the most dangerous ball clubs in the major leagues.