Every once in a while, you get a story in sports that defies all methods of logic. I am hard pressed to find one more illogical than the 2012 Oakland A's.
Picked for last by most prognosticators and projected to lose anywhere from 85 to 100 games, the A's sit in prime position for not only a playoff spot, but possibly a run to the American League West title. The last time they were a playoff team as the month of September started, the A's went to the American League Championship Series in 2006.
However, that team had a superstar having one last hurrah (Frank Thomas), an ace (Barry Zito), a young gun to support the superstar (Nick Swisher), a budding stud pitcher (Dan Haren) and plenty of character guys who were not household names, but definitely had enough pedigree in the big leagues (Esteban Loaiza, Mark Kotsay, Jay Payton).
All that said, the rise of this edition of the A's is so improbable, that many have found ways to try and detract from it. There have been the labels of lucky, particularly after the A's finished their four game sweep of the big bad New York Yankees in late July.
Then many said it was just a fluky run in the month of July, which saw the A's go a franchise-record 19-5. Which would have been great, except they have followed that with an August record of 18-10 with Friday night's game against Boston ending the month.
And from the positive side of things, others have just claimed that the A's are destined. As of this writing, Oakland has 13 walk off wins, by far the most in the Majors and just five short of the MLB record of 18 by the 1959 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Currently, the A's are 9-3 in extra innings, 20-15 in one-run games and 19-10 in games decided in the last at-bat. So they have only played in 12 games of free baseball and still managed 67 additional wins. But how? Well let us count the ways...