I know I already addressed this issue in a previous piece earlier this month, but the San Francisco Giants are really starting to drive me nuts. The Giants have the Philadelphia Phillies within one game of elimination, and that’s really disturbing to me for some reason.
While I can’t discredit the Giants’ stellar pitching staff, the team was not a big pre-season favorite to make it the World Series. While they have yet to do so, the team is pretty much on the verge of sending Philly home packing. But my argument has nothing to do with the Giants-Phillies, but rather why the Giants were able to capture a spot in the playoffs while the A’s were left out in the cold with an 81-81 record.
The A’s heading into this season, were not a preseason favorite either, but the team did have a strong core of young pitching. In 2009, the A’s debuted a talented young rotation that included the likes of Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, and while the team’s offense was reinforced by Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi and Orlando Cabrera, the young rotation proved to be too inexperienced to lead the team to the playoffs.
While 2009 was a season to forget, the A’s did manage to introduce some young arms into the league. Brett Anderson, 22, had a solid rookie-campaign, and despite his injuries this season, he had an even better season this year. Like Anderson, Trevor Cahill also improved upon his rookie-campaign and went 18-8 this year with a 2.97 ERA. But perhaps even more impressive was Gio Gonzalez, who struggled in 2009 but established himself as a fixture in Oakland’s rotation this season. Gonzalez, 25, went 15-9 with a nifty 3.23 ERA in 33 starts this year.
The A’s had veterans Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer penciled in this year for the rotation, but both eventually ended up on the DL. Sheets, 32, went 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 20 starts this year. Sheets lasted longer than Duchscherer, 33, who lasted just five starts before landing on the DL for the remainder of the season.
Despite these setbacks, however, the A’s rotation was led by their other ‘veteran,’ Dallas Braden. Braden, 27, threw a perfect game on Mother’s Day this year, and did a solid job this season while serving as the staff’s veteran. Braden finished the season with a 11-14 record and a 3.50 ERA.
Like the Giants, the A’s boasted an incredible pitching staff for a majority of the season, but both teams endured the misfortunes of having an anemic offense.
The A’s hit a total of 109 home runs, which ranked 28th in baseball for the year. Across the bay, the Giants hit 162 which ranked 11th in the league. They were led by the likes of Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe and Buster Posey to name a few. Altogether, the Giants had seven players on offense who hit 10 or more home runs for the season. The A’s had four.
The A’s as a team hit .256/.324/.378 this year, while the Giants hit .257/.321/.408. Now, those offensive numbers are eerily close to each other in terms of similarity, but the Giants are the ones playing in the postseason right now.
The A’s scored 663 runs, while the Giants managed to score 697. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to determine the fact that both these teams were not good on the offensive side of things. When it comes down to it though, the Giants were able to make do with what they had, while the A’s were not.
The A’s played extremely well in the second-half, and while they only posted a .500 record this season, the team did improved upon last year’s squad. The Giants meanwhile, really took everyone by surprise. In the NL West, which figured to be the Dodgers’ or Colorado’s division heading into the season, the Giants made a great run in catching the San Diego Padres.
The A’s pitching was good this year, and the team has the foundation all laid out for another “Big Three,” but the Giants’ rotation was just a tad better this season.
Led by Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain, the Giants have their own “Big Three” this year in the playoffs. And from the looks of it, they’re doing just fine. The Giants are on a roll, and are on the cusp of reaching the World Series, while I’m left staring across the bay wondering what to do.
|AT A GLANCE||Oakland A’s||San Francisco Giants|
|PAYROLL||$71,139,900 (21st)||$137,031,333 (4th)|
|ERA||3.56 (4th)||3.36 (1st)|
|QUALITY STARTS||103 (1st)||95 (3rd)|
|RUNS SCORED||663 (23rd)||697 (17th)|
|HOME RUNS||109 (28th)||162 (11th)|
|STOLEN BASES||156 (3rd)||55 (30th)|
|SEASON FINISH||2nd, AL West||1st, NL West|
Topics: 2010, A's, A's Baseball, A's Starting Lineup, A's Starting Rotation, AL Playoffs, AL West, ALCS, Aubrey Huff, Barry Zito, Baseball, Baseball Games, Ben Sheets, Bengie Molina, Buster Posey, Charlie Manuel, Chase Utley, Giants, Giants Baseball, Giants Lineup, Giants Starting Rotation, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Sanchez, Justin Ducscherer, Major League Baseball Playoffs, Matt Cain, MLB Playoffs, MLB Playoffs 2010, NCLS, NL Playoffs, NL West, Oakland A's, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Post Season, Regular Season, San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum