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I Eat Crow
2005-08-29 22:37
by Mike Carminati

The A's won on a pair of homers and scored five runs in the twelfth to complete a sweep of the O's that a) put them a full game up in the AL West and b) helped complete the debasement (or to quote Mushmouth, "De biggest bass in de basement") of Rafael Palmeiro from surefire Hall-of-Fame superstar to steroid-abusing, bench-occupying has-been.

And, oh yeah, it had one other consecutive. It forced me to set a precedent and admit I was wrong.

Before the season, I said that the A's would be closer to the Mariners (i.e., last place) this season than to first. I said Billy Beane had jumped the shark when he traded two of "The Big Three" and peopled his starting rotation with Barry Zito and a bunch of youngsters. I said that he got rooked with a few midseason trades.

As my wife would say, mark your calendars—I was wrong. I underestimated Beane's ability to break with tradition, to see more in players, especially young players, than anyone else could, and to add by subtraction like no one else in the business.

The A's have been able to build a division leader based on a bunch of role playing position players and a pitching staff with the fourth-best ERA in the game. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the way that the rotation has been able to rebound with the likes of Kirk Saarloos in the mix.

As a matter of fact the 2004-05 A's project to be one of 33 teams in baseball history to have five starting pitchers with at least ten wins in back-to-back seasons (including the 2004-05 Cards). How's that for a rotation not missing a beat?

Actually, they are one of three teams on the back-to-back list to retain just two pitchers in the process and yet produce five ten-win starters both years. Here's the complete list of those teams:

Baltimore Orioles19595196052
Chicago Cubs19345193552
Oakland Athletics2004520055 (proj)2
Chicago Cubs19055190663
Chicago Cubs19335193453
New York Yankees19355193653
Baltimore Orioles18955189654
Boston Red Sox19155191654
Chicago Cubs19045190554
Chicago Cubs19075190854
Chicago Cubs19105191154
Chicago Cubs19355193654
Cincinnati Reds19195192054
Cincinnati Reds19756197664
Detroit Tigers19465194754
Detroit Tigers19495195054
Detroit Tigers19615196254
New York Yankees19225192354
New York Yankees19985199954
Philadelphia Athletics19315193254
Pittsburgh Pirates19075190854
Pittsburgh Pirates19245192554
Pittsburgh Pirates19445194554
St. Louis Cardinals20045200554
Baltimore Orioles19605196155
Chicago Cubs19066190755
Los Angeles Dodgers19765197755
Los Angeles Dodgers19775197855
New York Giants19055190655
New York Giants19065190755
New York Giants19395194055
Pittsburgh Pirates19045190555
St. Louis Cardinals19305193165

The one thing that tempers admitting I was wrong is that at least I can enjoy the A's success in the process. And I'll make another daring prediction: if the A's do end up winning the AL West, they'll win it all what with the rampant mediocrity and overachieving frontrunners from the central divisions this year. Given my success rate of late though, Beane may be better off if I stay off the bandwagon.

2005-08-30 11:41:08
1.   scareduck
Very big of you. I thought the A's would win the division on their improved bullpen, a combination of solid but unexceptional offensive players, and a very good starting rotation that has one guy who's very good yet not quite in the first breath when mentioning Cy Young candidates.

The Angels have shamefully allowed an eight game lead to disappear. The season isn't over, but the enormous holes and blinkered thinking about free agents and which players to lock up is really hurting the franchise. Cabrera's bat has been hurting this club terribly in the first half, and Stoneman clearly overrates his defense badly. Finley, whose signing I agreed with at the start of the season, has proven a total bust. Esteban Yan for the money has been something of a tempered disappointment, realizing that quality middle relievers are not free.

Anderson should not have been signed to so many years. I can live with Glaus's exit; we'll have to wait until next year to see whether Dallas McPherson is a pumpkin or a player.

2005-08-30 17:47:01
2.   holytoledo
Yeah even crow might be an understatement...looks like that Payton for Byrnes deal wasn't too bad afterall...Thru Monday my calculations are that Payton had 46 hits, 12 hr's, 35 rbi's, 27 runs with the A's, and Byrnes has had 36 hits, 2 hr's, 13 rbi's and 13 runs with Colorado/Baltimore...
2005-08-30 18:14:35
3.   Schteeve
That Beane is smart dude. Plain and simple.
2005-09-01 07:53:52
4.   Mike from Hoboken
I wonder what Morgan thinks about the A's at this point.

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