The Oakland A's were supposed to be terrible this year. Some experts even thought this team could lose 100 games after trading away Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Andrew Bailey in the offseason. The Oakland A's surprised everyone this year and gave their fans a special season to remember.
The A's got off to a slow start this season and on June 30th they were trailing the Texas Rangers by 13 games in the AL West. However, the team we saw in the second half of the year was not the same as the one that began the year. Oakland was not afraid to make changes and got big contributions down the stretch from Brandon Moss and Chris Carter, both of whom began the year in Triple-A.
There was a certain magical feeling surrounding this Oakland A's team. On paper, the A's weren't supposed to win games, but they found ways to do it. They led the Major Leagues in walk-off wins with 14 this season and it got to the point where the players and fans expected them to come back and win every game. The A's biggest come back of the season was chasing down Texas to win the AL West by sweeping the Rangers in the final series.
The ALDS against the Tigers got off to a rough start losing Game 1 against Detroit ace Justin Verlander. The A's then lost Game 2 and found themselves facing elimination, but returning home. Oakland was used to having to come back all season long, so it was fitting to fall behind in the ALDS as well. The A's won Game 3 and then used a walkoff win in Game 4 to force a winner take all Game 5.
Unfortunately for the A's, Justin Verlander was on the mound again. Verlander completely dominated, throwing a completegame shutout with 11 strikeouts. In his two starts in the ALDS, Verlander pitched 17 innings, struck out 22, and only gave up one run. That one run came on a home run from the very first batter Verlander faced in Game 1, Coco Crisp. Jarrod Parker had the bad luck of opposing Verlander in both Game 1 and 5. Parker pitched 12.2 innings and gave up 6 earned runs over the two starts.
The Oakland A's may have been eliminated from the playoffs, but the season should still be seen as a success. They played hard all season and gave their fans plenty to root for. Even after the last out was recorded in Game 5 and the Tigers were celebrating on the field, the Oakland fans continued to chant, "Let's Go Oakland!" A very appropriate way to thank a great team.
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*Daniel became an Oakland A's fan during the Bash Brothers era of the late 1980s. He has followed the A's and Major League Baseball for over 20 years. Daniel is currently a Featured Contributor on the Yahoo! Contributor Network.