The Oakland Athletics are built for this kind of season

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Athletics are placed in an ideal situation with this wacky 2020 season.

For the last several years, the Oakland Athletics have found themselves peaking too early in the standard 162-game season, only to come up short once playoff time hit.

Last year, A’s fans had their hearts broken by the Tampa Bay Rays as they bopped their way through the Coliseum and into a Divisional matchup with the eventual pennant-winning Houston Astros.

The year before that, it was the Baby Bombers in New York who dispatched of the A’s by getting to Liam Hendriks early as the opener and never letting up.

It has become evident that the A’s are a team built for shorter spurts rather than a long marathon in a multitude of ways, and the fact that 2020 brings about a 60-game regular season makes the A’s chances of finally breaking through again and hoisting the World Series trophy even greater.

What makes this team so much more dangerous in a shorter season than a typical 162-game one?

First off, we see teams year-in and year-out over-perform in the first half of the season, start to fade shortly after the All-Star break, and then find themselves completely out of it by the dog days of August.

That’s because the grind of a typical season is structured to weed out the pretty good teams from the really good teams, or what some may call “contenders” and “pretenders.”

Baseball is a game that is inherently even-matched a majority of the time, which is why it isn’t so out of the question that a college team can defeat a pro team on any given day, maybe even in a certain series.

It’s not like that in football. People like to joke about it, but even the best college football teams stand a much slimmer chance of defeating a bad professional team than do the baseball versions of those teams.

Even the worst professional baseball teams win 60 games in any given season, so they clearly have two-months-worth of success regardless of how bad they are compared to the rest of the field.

Anybody can be good in a 60-game stretch. Just look at what the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles are doing right now and how hot they are coming out of the gate.

If this were a standard 162-game season, they would both be cute stories, but then fade immediately once the good teams get their legs stretched in the days of July and August.

However, being that there is not that much wiggle room for a collapse to happen to a hot team in a shortened 60-game season, we may very well see teams like the Marlins and Orioles ride their streaks long enough to qualify for playoff berths.

All 30 teams in baseball are capable of being good for 60 games, so point one is that if “bad” teams like the Marlins or Orioles can be overly competitive, of course, the good teams like the A’s can be too.

But what stands out about the A’s compared to the rest of the field that is going to set them up for a potential World Series push?

Few teams can get as hot as the Oakland Athletics in such a short period of time.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle to find a team that can get as hot as the A’s can in such a short period of time. The past few years, every time July and August rolled around, the A’s were the team everybody was talking about because they had been on such a hot streak.

The A’s typically like to start slow for the first month or so, then their offense kicks in, then their starting pitching kicks in, and before you know it, they’re a few games out of first place in the AL West coming down the stretch of early September.

What always seems to get them, though, is that they burn out at the worst time. They peak in that July/August window, but then fall back into the pack slightly once the lights start to get brighter, which is a big reason they haven’t performed so well in their last two trips to the Wild Card Game.

But the good news here in the 60-game season is that if they can time it right, they can peak right as they start to get into playoff mode and potentially ride that momentum the rest of the way.

This is an all-or-nothing team for the most part. Tons of home runs. A bit too many strikeouts. But the important part is that the offense pops.

And being that an offense as explosive as that doesn’t have to worry too much out flaming out due to the shortened schedule, it sets the A’s up perfectly to hit their groove and get the bats cooking through the postseason.

The same argument goes for their bullpen. Look, the A’s have some very underrated starting pitching, but this team’s pitching strength is their bullpen. They rode that momentum led by Blake Treinen two years ago, but they ultimately burned out.

Just like how their offense can hit their stride and not fade out, so too can the A’s bullpen because there will be less taxing on arms due to the shortened schedule. The downfall of the bullpen/opener game has seemed to be how long teams can keep the strategy up.

The Milwaukee Brewers played that game two years ago and burned out down the stretch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The A’s fell victim to the same fate a little earlier. I also haven’t seen the Rays go very far in a playoff series yet.

But since the season isn’t so long this time around, I think there’s a distinct possibility that the team that takes home the trophy could be one that utilizes bullpen games and leans on the relief pitchers to carry them home.

The A’s are at the top of that list because their bullpen has been a workhorse for years. 2020 might be the year that work finally pays off.

The A’s started off great, things got a little shaky for a couple of games against Colorado, but now they’re back to rolling at 11-4 on the season and in front of Houston in the division by 4.5 games.

dark. Next. Oakland Athletics: Marcus Semien attempts to put struggles behind him

The A’s are built for this kind of season, folks. I think A’s fans should be very optimistic right about now.