2019 Oakland Athletics
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2019 Oakland Athletics / Franchise: Oakland Athletics / BR Team Page
Clinched Wild Card: September 27, 2019, At Seattle Mariners
Managed by Bob Melvin
History, Comments, Contributions
Coming off a remarkable season in 2018 in which they had come out of nowhere to clinch a postseason slot, the 2019 Oakland Athletics would not have the element of surprise working in their favor this time around. However, they had not made many changes to a line-up that had been extremely productive, especially when it came down to power numbers, and still had the group of relievers that was among the best in baseball. The main worry spot was starting pitching, as Oakland had made its run with a patched-together starting rotation, especially after their ace Sean Manaea had gone down with a season-ending injury in August, and management would likely want to work with a more stable arrangement. In any case, the pitchers' mission would be a simple one: take the game to the bullpen, and let sluggers such as Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Stephen Piscotty, Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder do some damage. They also were counting on an excellent defense, led by 3B Chapman and OF Ramon Laureano.
The A's opened the season early, travelling to Japan to face the Seattle Mariners in a two-game series played at the Tokyo Dome on March 20-21. However, not only did they lose both games, bit they also lost 1B Olson to a broken hamate bone, an injury incurred late in the second game. They were forced to acquire a replacement, Kendrys Morales, in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays on the eve of the league-wide opening day. Morales turned out not to be much of a solution as he hit .204 with just 1 homer and 7 RBIs in 34 games before being designated for assignment on May 13th. The A's were just 14-18 at the end of April, finishing the month with 5 straight losses to put them in 4th place, 5 games back of the lead. By May 14th, they had dropped to 19-25 and were now 9 1/2 games back, as the Houston Astros were on a tear and running away with the division title. The major highlight of these early weeks came on May 7th when Mike Fiers pitched his second career no-hitter in a 2-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds. The A's began a winning streak themselves on May 16th, winning their next 10 games - with a suspended game against the Detroit Tigers in the middle - to move back above .500 at 29-25. While they were still a long way behind Houston, the Wild card race was now in sight as they had managed to climb back to second place.
Awards and Honors
- 2022 Oakland Athletics Media Guide, pg. 135
- Associated Press: "A's have high expectations as 1st full-squad workout begin", USA Today, February 16, 2019. 
- Associated Press: "Oakland Athletics season preview capsule", USA Today, March 18, 2019. 
- Jared Diamond: "The ‘Moneyball’ A’s Find a New Inefficiency: Other Teams’ Players", The Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2019. 
- Bob Nightengale: "'Nobody knows who we are': These anonymous Oakland Athletics roll towards MLB postseason", USA Today, September 16, 2019.