Oakland Athletics Still a Phoenix Rising in the Playoffs

Tom AuSenior Analyst IIOctober 14, 2016

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 07:  Josh Reddick (L) #16 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates with teammates in the dugout after Reddick scored on his solo home run in the top of th eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Two of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on October 7, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

One way to look at things is that the Oakland As are down 0-2 in the ALDS. Another point of view is that they are picking up steam and will overtake the Detroit Tigers.

I (a Moneyball fan), prefer the latter. The Athletics are almost always a stronger team than they look on paper.

OK, rookie Jarrod Parker wasn't quite a match for the Detroit ace, Justin Verlander, in the opener, at least in Comerica Park. But the As had good reason to expect to win the second game there.

That game was tied 4-4 at the end of eight. More to the point, while the Tigers finally won the game 5-4, only three of those five runs were EARNED.

That was because of Coco Crisp's error that allowed two Tiger runs to score in the seventh. This kind of thing doesn't happen too often.

The Game 3 matchups of Brett Anderson versus Anibal Sanchez and A.J. Griffin versus Matt Scherzer favor the As. And these will be in the Coliseum.

The As have a balanced rotation (and team), with the back end not being much worse than the front end. The Tigers will experience more of a drop off in this regard. And they will be on the road for the last three games.

The As will have to face Verlander again in Game 5. But this will be at home, and the team will "pitch by committee," if necessary. Anything to get the job done.

There's no guarantee that they will repeat the result of their three-game homestand against the Texas Rangers, but my money is on the As.

During the American Revolution, an American sea captain named John Paul Jones was outgunned 50 cannon to 42, and with his ship shot full of holes, was called upon to surrender by the British. He replied, "I have just begun to fight." His men boarded and captured the British ship, even though their own vessel later sank.

I believe that the Oakland As, in their leaky and "sinking" Playoff ship,  "have just begun to fight."