Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Oakland wins again

I am just watching the A's finish off the Twins - the A's sixth win in a row, and the Twins sixth loss in a row. Six seems to be the streak of choice at the moment - the Sox win over the Royals tonight was their sixth, while the Orioles are sitting on a six game losing streak of their own.

Prior to this weekend, this looked like it would be an important series for two teams that would be chasing the wild card spot in the play-offs. Now with the A's only a half game back of the Angels, it is difficult to tell whether they care much about the wild card race - they must surely have their eyes firmly set on winning the AL West. After the last weekend collapse in 2004 that took the A's out of the play-offs, that must seem quite a sweet prospect.

As an admirer of Billy Beane's persuit of excellence on a budget - although the disappointment that I felt when he first accepted, then declined the Red Sox GM position has declined somewhat given how his suggested GM has worked out - I have a soft spot for the A's. I also believe that Beane has used the confusion (and the at times deliberate misinterpretation) that surrounds Moneyball to change the A's goalposts in the draft and FA market to continue to find value ahead of others in a marketplace that quickly tried to replicate his "OBP" model.

Given that, it was galling to see the traditionalists pile on to Beane and the A's following the awful start that they made in 2005 - I made the point here that there was an unseemly haste from certain quarters to write off all of the A's past success as the product of three talented arms that would not be replicated again. After a 12-12 April, and a grisly 7-20 May, the A's have gone 19-8 in June, 20-6 in July, and now a 2-0 start in August - it has been nice to watch some of these guys owning up to an early jump!

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