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Breaking Down The Athletics Incredible 2012 Season

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

Oakland defied the odds, erasing a five-game deficit over the last nine games to claim the AL West crown

This week on Sports 1140 KHTK, we’re taking a look at the 2012 Oakland Athletics, a team that defied the odds and clinched the American League West.

Thursday night, tune in to 1140 AM to catch Game 4 of the 2012 ALDS between the A’s and Detroit Tigers, starting at 5:00 PM.

Slow Start

The Oakland Athletics began their 2012 season by losing four of six games.

The lineup wasn’t working, and the pitching staff held a an ERA over four. After one month of the season, the A’s were 11-13 and 6.5 games out of first place in the American League West.

Newly signed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes struggled in his first month of MLB action, hitting .245 with five home runs, 21 RBI and 29 strikeouts. Cespedes would go down on May 6th with an injury that would sideline him until June.

Oakland would sink even further in the standings as the season inched closer to the midway point, falling to 13 games out of first place with a 37-42 record on June 30th. With the waiver-trade deadline approaching, moves needed to be made.

Josh Donaldson (L) and Stephen Drew (L) (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

With the left side of the infield struggling for the Athletics, General Manager Billy Beane decided to shake things up.

Oakland acquired slick-fielding shortstop Stephen Drew from the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 20, just days after recalling rookie third baseman Josh Donaldson from AAA Sacramento.

From August 20th through the rest of the season, the A’s got hot.

Donaldson, who struggled earlier in the season and was sent back down to the minors, finished his final 47 games with a .290 average, eight home runs and 26 RBI. Drew, who had also struggled at the plate in Arizona with a .193 batting average, finished the season hitting .250 with 5 home runs, 16 RBI and 18 walks over 39 games for the Athletics.

The Final Series

Over the final 42 games, Oakland finished with a 29-13 record, capped off by a series that will go down in A’s history as one of the best of all-time.

Coming into the final series of the season, the first-place Texas Rangers came into town with a two-game lead over the A’s with three games remaining in the season.

To claim the AL West crown, the Athletics would need to pull of a three-game sweep against a loaded Rangers team.

And that is exactly what they did.

Oakland scratched out a 4-3 nail-biting win in Game 1, followed by a 3-1 win in Game 2 to pull themselves into a tie for first-place with one game remaining in the season.

Game 162 started with the Rangers taking a 5-1 lead, knocking A’s starter Bret Anderson out after just 2.2 innings.

Oakland would respond with a huge six-run rally in the fourth inning to take the lead, later tacking on another four runs in the eighth inning to put the game away for good.

The Oakland Athletics, who were 13 games out of first place on July 1, were crowned American League West Champions.

Numbers and Accolades

Josh Reddick, who was a fourth outfielder for the Boston Red Sox in 2011, hit a career-high 32 home runs in 2012–while also claiming a Rawlings Gold Glove award.

Reddick also finished in the top-16 in MVP voting.

Yoenis Cespedes bounced back from his injury to put together an impressive rookie season, hitting .292 with 23 home runs, 86 RBI and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year race to Mike Trout.

Coco Crisp stole 39 bases for the A’s in 2012, good enough for seventh in all of baseball.

The Athletics had plenty of help from their supporting cast, such as Brandon Moss (21 HR), Jonny Gomes (18 HR), Chris Carter (16 HR) and Seth Smith (14 HR).

Oakland’s pitching staff finished with a 3.48 ERA, sixth-best in all of baseball. Their 0.9 home runs allowed per-nine innings was eighth best in the league.

Coming Up

The Athletics would go on to face the Detroit Tigers in a hard-fought five-game series in the American League Division Series.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at Games 1-3 of that series as we get closer to our broadcast of Game 4, airing Thursday night at 5:00pm right here on Sports 1140 KHTK.