Oakland Athletic: 5 Reasons Why They Will Not Win World Series
State of the Oakland A's Heading Into October
Heading into the 2013 season, things were looking somewhat murky for the Oakland A's. Sure, they won the AL West during the 2012 MLB season, but they still had to go up against a Los Angeles Angels team that features Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols in the same lineup, along with a perennially difficult Texas Rangers team. Many people had these two team ranked as the top two teams in the AL coming into the 2013 season, with the A's expected to have trouble just finishing over .500.
Fast forward to the end of September, and Oakland has a 94-65 record and sits six games above Texas and 16 games above the Angels. Considering that the A's have the 26th-ranked payroll, this is remarkable and shows that with Billy Beane in charge, the famed Moneyball philosophy will never die down. People had begun to doubt just how much Beane really did during his early years in charge, but after compiling another roster full of cheap yet effective hitters and a great crop of young starting pitchers, the team has again become a powerhouse.
But while the A's have become a perennial playoff contenders the facts are that Beane's cheap and effective teams have never been able to get over the hurdles of the postseason. In fact, for all of the A's success under Beane, they have a 1300-1128 record since he took over as GM in 1997, the organization has never won a single game in the league championship under his guide.
While some of this failure when it counts most has come down to unlucky draws, the facts are that Beane's teams have not been properly set up to win in October. Unfortunately, I believe that this holds true during the 2013 season, and do not believe that the Oakland A's will be crowned the World Series champions at the end of October.
But instead of just making this statement without any background, I have decided to compile the five biggest reasons why the A's will not win the World Series in 2013.
5. The A's Don't Play Enough Small Ball
During the 2013 season, the Oakland A's ranked 29th in MLB in sacrifice bunts and 21st in stolen bases, showing not just an inability but an unwillingness to play small ball. Unfortunately, when October baseball comes around, runs become much harder to come by, and creating more opportunities by pushing runners into scoring position become extremely valuable. After not working on sacrifice bunts or stealing bases for the entirety of the 2013 season, it will be difficult for A's players to be expected to suddenly change their ways to fit the different style of play.
4. Inexperienced Starting Lineup
During the postseason, experienced and grizzled veterans are of the utmost importance, and unfortunately for the Oakland A's, their roster is not full of these players. Out of the A's regular starting lineup, only Coco Crisp has ever won a World Series, which highlights the lack of veteran presence that will come back to haunt the organization. In the end, this group of players simply does not have the veteran experience necessary to win the World Series in 2013.
3. Bob Melvin
Bob Melvin is a fantastic manager during the regular season, but is simply not a manager that wins World Series. During his 10-year managerial career, Melvin has made three postseason appearances to date, but has yet to win a single game in the league championship series. While this surely is in part due to his teams, the facts are that both Melvin and the Oakland A's organization as a whole are too reliant on numbers in a postseason game plan that almost never goes how it is expected to.
2. The A's Don't Have Enough Power Starting Pitchers
Of the Oakland A's current starting five pitchers, only Sonny Gray has posted a K/9 above 7.70, and he has only thrown 59 innings. Instead, the A's have been extremely fortunate to be able to skate by with pitchers who prefer to pitch to contact. During the postseason, these types of pitchers normally do not fare nearly as well as flame-throwing strikeout pitchers, as the better lineups in baseball tend to find a way to deposit baseballs into the bleachers against contact pitchers.
1. An Aging Ace
The Oakland A's ace is Bartolo Colon, who has had a remarkable run during 2013, posting a 17-6 record with a 2.64 ERA in 184.1 innings in what could be the greatest season ever for a pitcher that is 40 years old or above. Unfortunately for Colon, this success appears unlikely to translate into postseason success given the fact that he has only struck out 109 batters, and has given up more than a hit per inning. This tendency to be reliant on batters putting the ball in play does not usually translate well into the postseason, and looks likely to prove costly for the A's in 2013.