Oakland, We Have A Problem: Astros Eliminate Athletics From Postseason
The Athletics will head home after another underwhelming postseason appearance
Since 2012, the Oakland Athletics have made the Major League Baseball postseason six times.
In this six appearances, the franchise has only advanced in a series once–this year’s Wild Card round, an add-on series by the league to boost viewership and get more teams involved in postseason play.
The A’s have not won a Division Series since 2006, when they swept the Minnesota Twins in the first-round.
After Houston put the finishing touches on their Division Series win over Oakland on Thursday, A’s fans have to wonder when they will see their team appear in an American League Championship Series.
Oakland dropped Game 1 and Game 2 before picking up a dramatic, come-from-behind win in Game 3. The A’s handed the ball to Frankie Montas on Thursday, while the Astros started former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.
Ramón Laureano put the A’s out in front early with a three-run blast off of Greinke in the top of the second-inning.
That lead would be short-lived however, as Carlos Correa and the Astros stormed back with a five-run fourth-inning to take a 5-3 lead into the second-half of the contest.
Montas allowed five runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings pitched.
Both teams would trade runs down the stretch, but Houston’s offense was too much for a tiring A’s bullpen as the Astros eliminated the first-place Athletics with an 11-6 win at Dodger Stadium.
The Athletics finally claimed the American League West division from the grasp of Houston, putting forth one of their strongest–albeit, shortened–seasons in recent memory, going 36-24 and clinching the number-two seed in the American League.
Oakland was without their franchise player in Matt Chapman down the stretch, a two-way player whose glove and bat were sorely missed during the four-game series with Houston.
Runs were not hard to come by for the Astros, as their powerful lineup produced 33 runs over four games.
This offseason, the A’s will need to take a hard look at their rotation. Something that separates the Athletics from being a perennial contender is having that dominant arm that they can hand the ball to in big games.
Probable National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer will be a free-agent this summer, as well as Jake Arietta, Marcus Stroman, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Corey Kluber and others.
Oakland needs to bolster its rotation, with Montas and Chris Bassitt looking like mainstays at the moment.
Shortstop Marcus Semien will be a free-agent this offseason. Will the A’s open up their checkbook for the 2019 MVP finalist?
Recently-acquired utility-man Tommy La Stella was an incredible deadline acquisition, as the All-Star hit .289 with one home run and 11 RBI over 27 games with the Athletics.
Will Oakland look to lock him in as the long-term solution at second-base?
There are plenty of questions that need to be answered for the Oakland Athletics. While the team has been one of the best in baseball for the past three seasons, the results are not showing up in October.
As Billy Beane said in Moneyball: “It all doesn’t mean anything if you lose the last game of the season.”
Beane and company have some work to do this offseason.