Well, here we are again. 162 games are in the books and the A’s are one of the remaining 11(!) teams with games still to play. This year’s A.L. West Division title came with less fanfare and drama than last year’s, but it’s still just as sweet to beat out a couple of teams most people thought were better than the A’s.
The 2013 A’s finished the regular season with 96 wins, two more than last season. I said at the beginning of the year that this year’s team was better than last year’s team on paper, and it turned out to be true in the standings. This year’s team posted a winning record in every month, and despite the little stretch after the All Star break where they dropped into second place for awhile, there weren’t many panic moments where I thought the A’s weren’t going to get it done.
I think this is mostly a testament to the depth and versatility of the roster. There was a time early in the season when Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, and Yoenis Cespedes were all on the disabled list at the same time. That’s the entire starting outfield, and it would’ve crippled a lot of teams. But the A’s got through it fine because of their roster depth. Cespedes didn’t even start to hit very well until September. The 2013 A’s are full of bench players on any given day that aren’t going to kill you if they have to be everyday guys for awhile.
Is this what’s finally going to make Billy Beane’s stuff work in the playoffs? I hope so. There hasn’t been much to cheer for in the playoffs in the Beane era. I can’t help but worry that will continue, but then again, I’m always full of optimism going into an October run. I truly believe it is a crapshoot, but one of these days, the A’s are going to be on the winning side of that crapshoot. Maybe, just maybe, 2013 is the year.