This season wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Oakland Athletics. They were expected to maybe finish in third place at best in the division. The team was supposed to be contending for the postseason in 2019. Maybe 2020. No, they were not supposed to be here.
But they arrived sooner than expected. They got 97 wins and got into the postseason as a wild-card team. That’s how stacked this American League was. Three teams had at least 100 wins and the A’s at 97 wins had to settle for the second wild-card spot.
And that’s what made this season so special. Sure, it sucks that they lost their wild-card game and their postseason dreams were dashed just like that. But what can you do when the rotation was made up of spare parts and a bunch of inexperienced players lead the team to the postseason?
It can be easy to second-guess what should have happened in the game. Was the bullpen approach the best option or should the team have gone the traditional route and started Edwin Jackson or Mike Fiers?
And with the bullpen situation, was the order of the relievers’ entry into the game the best? Or how about the A’s failing to capitalize with their hitting and not stranding so many runners?
It’s hard not to look at the individual situations in the game but I feel that since the season wasn’t even supposed to finish in October, I don’t look back in anger. What I saw was a team coming of age and now with a taste of October, has to come back next season even stronger and more prepared to take the division.
Ignoring all that went wrong on Wednesday, I am looking forward to seeing Blake Treinen dominate again. We have some young studs in the pen and a lineup that is pretty formidable. Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and Ramon Laureano are some of the names that we want to see excel next season again. Of course the rotation needs some big help but I want to believe that the front office can make that happen.
That’s next year. This year’s ending still hurts and I will get over it. But it doesn’t wipe away an amazing season for the A’s. It’s still hard not to wonder about the “what ifs” from the game. But I want to focus on what did happen. And it was a whole lot of fun.
I want to see more of that next year. This is only the beginning. The story isn’t over yet.