The Oakland Athletics were finally mathematically eliminated from the playoff race with Sunday’s loss to the Texas Rangers. Not that the A’s were in much of a race anyway. The team, with Sunday’s 8-1 loss to Texas, was denied a trip to the postseason for the fifth consecutive season.
Oakland’s 2011 season has not gone the way most envisioned it earlier in the season, largely because of the team’s first-half offensive woes. The team hit .233/.299/.337 before the All-Star break.
The A’s ranked 28th in both runs scored (315) and home runs (50) during the first-half of the season. While the offense lagged, the pitching staff churned out quality start after quality start, ranking 3rd in baseball with a 3.13 ERA during the first-half.
The team’s inability to strike a balance between solid pitching and an equally effective offense, has been the A’s biggest problem this year. Obviously injuries play a big role this year as well, but it’s definitely not the only reason why this team is missing out on yet another trip to the postseason.
This team has gone through a managerial change mid-way through the season, and has seen a resurgence in the youth movement that GM Billy Beane started back in 2007. 2011 hasn’t been a pretty year, and missing the playoffs for the fifth-consecutive season only makes matters worse.
Beane, who tried extremely hard this offseason to upgrade his offense, hasn’t had an easy time putting together a winning team in recent years. Strapped for cash, and the misfortune of not being able to plan long-term due to Oakland’s murky stadium situation, has definitely taken a toll on Beane and the Athletics.
With another losing season, Beane might decide to move on from the team that helped launch him to stardom. The A’s general manager is still considered one of the brighter GM’s in the game despite the A’s recent struggles, and many wonder how well he’d perform if given a bigger budget.
Fans hoping for a green-and-gold October should find a little comfort in revisiting Oakland’s past glory days with Brad Pitt’s Hollywood version of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball due to hit theaters in less than two weeks. The nonfiction book and movie both chronicle the 2002 Oakland Athletics (including the remarkable 20-game winning streak), and Beane’s attempts to build a winning club despite having a small payroll.
Another year, another missed opportunity for a playoff appearance. Well, there’s always next year.
Topics: 2006 ALCS, 2011 MLB Playoffs, ALCS, Billy Beane, Bob Melvin, Brad Pitt Moneyball, MLB Playoff Race, MLB Playoffs, Moneyball, Moneyball Movie, Oakland A's, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Baseball, Promotions, Starting Pitching, Texas Rangers