Thursday, July 15, 2004

More A's & Billy Beane

First off, why I brought this whole topic up at this time was only cause it's been bugging me ever since the A's should have destroyed the Twins 2 years ago, except Art Howe decided to pitch Hudson twice instead of his lefties against a team that was horrible against lefties. Then managed to butcher a bunch of defensive plays and basically watched the control of Brad Radke whip through the walk-waiting offense. Obviously the Howe move was on his own, but the rest seemed to do with team construction.

I just wanted to clarify as my overall point is I think the A's fan are going to be about as frustrated as Braves fan. That's not a terrible thing making the playoffs every year, I just think they'll be losing a lot more than winning when it comes to the playoffs. Sure a lot of it is luck, but I think there are ways to help yourself in the playoffs and the big one is to be aggressive and realize that it IS THE PLAYOFFS. Normal rules don't necessarily apply. (By the way this is my biggest complaint with Dusty besides high pitch counts is he tends to stick with his guns come playoff time and that's normly a recipe for disaster) Bring J. Beckett back on 2 days rest, move players around to get your best lineup out there (McKeon took a chance on a hot-hitting Cabrera last year and left him in), bring R. Johnson back on one day rest, etc.

Beane has done an amazing job putting together that team, no doubt about that, but I think he's a little short-sighted to completely frown upon certain aspects of the game when they could be useful in certain situations. When it gets time to the playoffs, finding a competitive edge over another team is harder to find and maybe it will come in the form of taking an extra base, or a sac bunt, or whatever the case may be. And I'm sure if you ask Beane he'll say he's not against those things but I distinctly remember in Moneyball, I think it was the coach R. Washington saying he's never been on a team that frowned upon aggressiveness like the A's do. So I'm sure he's scared the coaches and players into believing that. Who really knows but that's the impression.

If they make the playoffs 10 years in a row, I guess their chances of winning one will go up, but honestly they've been hot every year going into the playoffs and that's been the complaint that the hot teams always win the Series. So for now I'm sticking to my theory that the A's will falter in the playoffs every year until I see a little change in their philosophy. And it's not just bunting or stealing, it's being aggressive and putting the pressure on the other team and their defense at times and looking for every edge possible at every point of a game.


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