The Oakland A’s surprised many people this year, as the team finished with a .500 record and a second-place finish in the American League West. The team, anchored by a stellar cast of young arms, stayed in the division race for much of the year before losing out to the eventual AL Pennant winners Texas Rangers.
While the A’s missed out on the playoffs for a fourth straight year, the team did show a ton of promise and upside in 2010. Heading into 2011, the A’s will be led by their young rotation that led baseball in quality starts (109). The additions of DH Hideki Matsui, OF Josh Willingham, and OF David DeJesus on offense all figure to help the A’s in their quest for a playoff birth next season.
Before we start talking 2011, however, here’s a look at three of the best A’s moments in 2010:
No. 1: Dallas Braden’s Perfect Game on Mother’s Day
The whole A-Rod-Braden situation got amplified when Braden, the pitcher with just a “handful of wins,” threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 10th (Mother’s Day). Braden, 27, retired every batter he faced, and he proved that he belongs in this league. Braden, a member of the A’s fantastic young rotation, finished the season with a 3.50 ERA in 192.2 innings. He also went on to win 10 games this season. For more on Braden’s historic game, check out this video by GoodNewsinOakland
No. 2: A’s Win Four-Straight to finish season at .500
Okay, maybe this should be counted as a series of ‘moments,’ but the A’s did put together a nice run there at the end of the season winning their last four to finish the season at .500. Not a winning record, but it was still good enough to secure a second-place finish in the AL West. The A’s remained in the thick of things for most of the year, but injuries and a very non-threatening offense prevented the green-and-gold from capturing their first playoff appearance since advancing to the ALCS in 2006. The team, with its strong young core, should have no problem next season competing for a playoff spot especially in a weakened AL West.
No. 3: Watching the new “Big Three”
Again, not necessarily one specific moment here, but watching the A’s young pitching mature and develop was very exciting to watch. The A’s saw Trevor Cahill win 18 games, Gio Gonzalez win 15, and Brett Anderson pitch well. The A’s who once had Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito as their “Big Three,” now have version 2.0 in Anderson, Cahill, and Gonzalez. Anderson, in my opinion, boasts the talent to be a No.1 starter in baseball, but Cahill and Gonzalez did come into their own this year. Regardless, the A’s have the foundation for a new “Big Three,” and fans should be especially excited for this upcoming year. Oh yeah, the A’s added even more depth with Rich Harden and Brandon McCarthy this offseason. Pitching is obviously a strength heading into 2011.
2010 was an exciting year, and while the A’s missed out on all the postseason fun, 2011 is full of promise.