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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

MLB.com: A’s rally from four down to unseat Texas in AL West

The A’s won the de facto American League West title game in the same fashion that got them there.

Oakland hid in the shadow of the Rangers, just as it did while fielding the lowest of expectations before season’s start, mounting its most precious comeback yet in the campaign’s final game Wednesday. The A’s overcame an early four-run deficit to lock down a 12-5 victory, sweep the Rangers and take home their first division crown since 2006.

NTNgod Posted: October 03, 2012 at 08:30 PM | 54 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, pennant race, rangers

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   1. Coot Veal and Cot Deal's cols=“100” rows=“20” Posted: October 03, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4253189)
Good times! Congratulations to the A's fans hereabouts.
   2. akrasian Posted: October 03, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4253190)
I guess that {feces}storm last winter over the A's trading everybody as soon as they started looking good was wrong.

Or maybe Beane just got lucky.
   3. Tripon Posted: October 03, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4253195)
Billy Beane should have always written that movie script.
   4. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: October 03, 2012 at 08:53 PM (#4253199)
Yeah, Beane got lucky. But I'm cool with it.

I mean, they're not going to go, "Oh hey, we got it right so now we build around these pitchers and operate differently than we have for several years."

It's still an organization that is not concerned with winning right now. This was an accident.
   5. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 09:16 PM (#4253216)
For a guy who won't shut up about Jesus, Josh Hamilton sure hasn't caught many breaks from the Almighty. Might be time to look into one of the Eastern faiths Josh, or maybe Scientology.
   6. GEB4000 Posted: October 03, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4253229)
I guess Beane wanted a sequel.
   7. jingoist Posted: October 03, 2012 at 09:56 PM (#4253279)
"Well Pedro, maybe if you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you could hit the curveball"
   8. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: October 03, 2012 at 09:59 PM (#4253284)
test
   9. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4253292)
They were 5 back with 9 to play. No one has ever come back like that before.
   10. I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:09 PM (#4253293)
I got some dirty looks at the office this afternoon for my seemingly random outbursts of anguish then joy.

This has been one of the best years of baseball I've ever seen.
   11. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4253296)
"Well Pedro, maybe if you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you could hit the curveball"


Yeah, pretty amazing. What a thing.
   12. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:19 PM (#4253307)

It's still an organization that is not concerned with winning right now. This was an accident.


I think the plan has been to eventually put together a winner. Well, that obviously happened ahead of schedule, but I'd expect the A's to bulk up this winter, likely in proportion to how far they go in the crapshoot, err, playoffs.
   13. A triple short of the cycle Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:22 PM (#4253311)
I skipped out of work to watch at a bar in downtown Oakland.
The Napoli at bat was The Moment in the game for me. God that was great. He has killed the A's for years.
   14. KT's Pot Arb Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4253323)
It's still an organization that is not concerned with winning right now. This was an accident.


I could never reconcile the signing of Cespedes with a long term rebuilding plan. It seemed like a great deal of money to gamble on a guy who, if he even turned out okay, was a guy you didn't expect to need until his contract was nearly done, and with that contract it seemed unlikely to be much surplus value to get in trade for him even if he turned out to be decent.

It clearly seems like Beane was planning on winning by next year, when he made that commitment.
   15. dr. scott Posted: October 03, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4253338)
I think Beane always thinks if the young guys over perform just a bit he can win, and he got the money for cespedes by trading the last bunch of young guys. this time it worked out. Each year I have been thinking if only some of the young hitters actually hits they have a chance. Also I assume they thought weeks might really come to form this year.

It seems that Melvin has been a huge help too. Having good competent management that clicks with the team gives them a much better chance of over performing.
   16. Daunte Vicknabbit! Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:06 PM (#4253369)
Maybe Moneyball REALLY CAN BUY YOU LOVE, huh random Nationals fan-who-shall-not-be-named but who has been strangely absent from these discussions?
   17. jobu Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:24 AM (#4253434)
It's ironic given that the A's are more associated with statistical analysis than any other team in any sport, but it would be difficult to watch this team regularly and think that team chemistry doesn't have a lot to do with their success.

They are the most "Major League" (the movie) team I can recall.

"I've never heard of half of these guys and the ones I do know are way past their prime."

"He'll fit right in with our team concept."
"That reminds me. I was going to ask you 'what exactly is our team concept?'"

"Mr Wolff doesn't think too highly of our worth. He put this team together because he thought we'd be bad enough to finish dead last, knocking attendance down to the point where he can move the team to San Jose... and get rid of all of us for better personnel."
...
"Well I guess there's only one thing left to do....Win the whole f**king thing."

I guess they uncovered the Bud Selig cut-out's g-string today.

   18. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4253446)
They were 5 back with 9 to play. No one has ever come back like that before.
they controlled their own destiny, though. they were 5 games back with 9 to play, but 6 of those games were against the only team that was ahead of them in the standings. they won 5 of those 6, and then swept the remaining 3, but if the schedule was different, and if they played LAA 6 times, instead of TEX, they wouldn't have won the west. the schedule made that possible.
   19. RollingWave Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:11 AM (#4253467)
wow, wtf.
   20. BochysFingers Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:55 AM (#4253480)
I don't know that I've ever heard A's broadcaster Ken Korach's voice outside in Downtown before. Downtown San Francisco.
   21. BochysFingers Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:57 AM (#4253482)
they controlled their own destiny, though. they were 5 games back with 9 to play, but 6 of those games were against the only team that was ahead of them in the standings. they won 5 of those 6, and then swept the remaining 3, but if the schedule was different, and if they played LAA 6 times, instead of TEX, they wouldn't have won the west. the schedule made that possible.

While technically true, you're missing the spirit of the accomplishment. And who's to say that TEX wouldn't have been swept by somebody else?
   22. base ball chick Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:00 AM (#4253485)
it's a beautiful thing when nolan ryan's team loses

GO ORIOLES!!!!!
   23. Hecubot Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:36 AM (#4253494)
>> the schedule made that possible.

Yeah, we weren't thanking the scheduler too much after that road trip from Detroit to NYC to Texas.

   24. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 04, 2012 at 07:19 AM (#4253526)
Yeah, we weren't thanking the scheduler too much after that road trip from Detroit to NYC to Texas.

The schedule the last 30 days was a killer and they still pulled it off. A really incredible feat by the A's. And now? Justin Verlander. Hoo boy.
   25. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:24 AM (#4253546)
Crazy #### involving the A's this year:

- sign, then release, Manny Ramirez without him making the majors
- one of their top pitchers (Colon) gets popped for PED use, misses 50 games (he'll be eligible to pitch in the 8th game of the playoffs, right?)
- another of their top pitchers (McCarthy) gets his skull cracked by a line drive hit back to the mound, out for the season
   26. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4253576)
And the McCarthy injury left them with an all-rookie rotation, right? Although I think Anderson will be available for the playoffs.
   27. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4253582)
the a's are the definition of awesome

so much fun.

   28. zack Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4253599)
I imagine it is a short story, but what is the story with the goofy moshing during Balfour's entrance?
   29. dr. scott Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4253614)
Technically Anderson was out after Mcarthy, correct? Basically steroids, near death beaning, and shoulder issues sidelined every veteran starter for the As.

Speaking of starters they have had serious problems the last few weeks, but the bullpen has been fantastic in many unexpected ways.

So clearly Mac was out for the season, but is there any chance of a return in some later round? I have not read much about his recovery apart from jokes (from teammates) about getting him a drool bag for the celebrations, which makes me think things are progressing in a positive way.
   30. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 04, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4253665)
McCarthy supposedly tweeted that he could be available at some point in the playoffs. This would be more amazing than the A's winning the AL West. Oh, and Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   31. JMM Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4253852)
(Colon)'ll be eligible to pitch in the 8th game of the playoffs, right?


No, that's Melky in SF. Colon might be for like Game 5 of the World Series, so you'd need an injury to clear a spot for him, plus for the both the DS and CS go full length, so, he basically won't be, but there's a slight but really unlikely possibility of his being eligible.
   32. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4253914)
Speaking of starters they have had serious problems the last few weeks, but the bullpen has been fantastic in many unexpected ways.

This was because the staff of rookie starters got tired and began to collapse under the pressure of their first-ever pennant race, whereas the staff of rookie relievers got fired up and rose to the occasion of their first-ever pennant race.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4253933)
Great job A's. So fun!

Now beat the piss out of the Tigers!
   34. Charlie O Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4254100)
...but if the schedule was different, and if they played LAA 6 times, instead of TEX, they wouldn't have won the west. the schedule made that possible.


How about if the A's got to play the Astros six times while the Rangers got to play the Giants six times? That part of the schedule kept the A's from wrapping it up a few days ago.
   35. jobu Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4254637)
if the schedule was different, and if they played LAA 6 times, instead of TEX, they wouldn't have won the west. the schedule made that possible.

Let me get this straight....it's somehow a black mark on their accomplishment that they went and kicked the #### out of the team that had been in first place all season to take the division? That seems like really tortured logic.
   36. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4254648)
I don't think he's calling it a black mark, just a bit of good fortune. If those head-to-head games had been played earlier, maybe they turn out differently. And even if you aren't buying that, it's still a nice little bit of serendipity, because if those head-to-head games had been played earlier in the season with the same results, then while the A's still win the division, they don't get the opportunity to pull off an epic comeback from five back with nine to play.
   37. Dan Evensen Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4254660)
they controlled their own destiny, though. they were 5 games back with 9 to play, but 6 of those games were against the only team that was ahead of them in the standings. they won 5 of those 6, and then swept the remaining 3, but if the schedule was different, and if they played LAA 6 times, instead of TEX, they wouldn't have won the west. the schedule made that possible.

This qualifies as one of the dumbest things I've read on this site.

How does the fact that they beat the team in first place diminish their accomplishment? How can you assume that Texas would have played better in those 6 games if they were facing a different opponent -- or that Oakland would have played worse?

The current unbalanced schedule does cause strength of schedule problems, yes. However, strength of schedule here does not diminish Oakland's accomplishment in any way. If nothing else, it makes the accomplishment even more impressive.
   38. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:17 PM (#4254687)
Do the alleged intellectuals here really not grasp that playing the team you're chasing makes a comeback more likely?
   39. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4254701)
I could never reconcile the signing of Cespedes with a long term rebuilding plan. It seemed like a great deal of money to gamble on a guy who, if he even turned out okay, was a guy you didn't expect to need until his contract was nearly done, and with that contract it seemed unlikely to be much surplus value to get in trade for him even if he turned out to be decent.


I don't think Beane manages by the "success cycle." He'll grab a veteran if it's a good deal, and he'll unload a young star for prospects if it's a good deal, and he'll do both at the same time.
   40. jobu Posted: October 04, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4254721)
Do the alleged intellectuals here really not grasp that playing the team you're chasing makes a comeback more likely?

More likely? No not at all. More in my CONTROL, yes. Two different things.

Let's put it this way, and use some extremes (i.e., all games vs. one opponent) to illustrate it. If we can agree that the Mariners are not as good as the Rangers, which scenario would I rather have as the A's--which one would I think is more likely I would make up ground?
A) A's have 10 games against the Mariners, Rangers have 10 games against the Angels
B) A's have 10 games against the Rangers

I think it's fair to say that the A's, Rangers, and Angels are relatively close in quality. From a pure probability standpoint (i.e., "what scenario makes a comeback more likely"), I would rather have the opportunity to beat up on a weak opponent and have my tough competitor face a tough opponent than to have to face that tough opponent myself.

To make this even plainer, let's say you're a triplet, and you're playing 1-on-1 basketball with the other two triplets B and C and a 9 year-old. So far, you're behind B in the tournament. To make up ground, would you be better off having B and C beat up on each other (and likely go 50/50) while you dominate the 9-year-old, or play B (and likely go 50/50). It seems obvious that it's far more likely you'd make up ground if you had a schedule pitting you against the weaker opponent.
   41. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 04, 2012 at 10:00 PM (#4254726)
Do the alleged intellectuals here really not grasp that playing the team you're chasing makes a comeback more likely?


Only if you accept that moving those games to a different time in the season would have changed their outcome. Which is possible, but not necessarily true. It could just have easily resulted in the season being remembered as the Rangers valiant charge to close the gap which fell just short.
   42. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 04, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4254756)
Of course, if you already have a lead because you've beaten your closest rival earlier in the season, then you aren't in a position to mount a comeback. So in other words, you agree that playing the team you're chasing makes a comeback more likely.
   43. PerroX Posted: October 04, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4254757)
Time is an illusion.
   44. McCoy Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:15 PM (#4254779)
So the A's win on May 16th against the Rangers to make them 3 back so that when they win the next day as well they are now only 2 games back. They then go out and promptly lose 12 of their next 15 games to fall back to fall 7 games back of the Rangers. They then play the Rangers in a 4 game series. They win the June 5th game and after the series they are now to only be 3 games back. They then get swept by the DBacks and are 5 games back and are 6 games back when they play the Rangers again in another 4 game series starting at the end of June. They split the series to maintain the 5 games back. So there are your 3 wins removed from the end of the season and sprinkled into the middle of the season.

So then the A's take the divisional lead on July 20th in a victory against the Yankees. They would keep the lead and never give it up for the rest of the season though the Rangers would close to half a game behind to a game behind in the middle of August and after the first loss to the Rangers on Sept 24th the A's would have only a two game lead.

The 3 games series at the end of the season would have been meaningless as the A's would have clinched the division against the Mariners the series before.
   45. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:39 PM (#4254795)
I have misread the argument to be about whether the A's division win more likely rather than being about the fact that a comeback occurred at all.

So I guess I

A: agree that it is easier to have a dramatic comeback when the schedule is set for a dramatic comeback

and

B: don't care.
   46. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4254801)
How could you not care? Dramatic comebacks are cool. Kinda like triple crowns, only not as rare. At least when the schedule cooperates.
   47. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4254805)
Yes I love dramatic comebacks. I AM CONVEYING POINTS POORLY IN THIS THREAD!
   48. Jick Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:53 PM (#4254807)
Time is an illusion.


Lunchtime doubly so.
   49. Maxwn Posted: October 05, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4254813)
I think it's fair to say that the A's, Rangers, and Angels are relatively close in quality. From a pure probability standpoint (i.e., "what scenario makes a comeback more likely"), I would rather have the opportunity to beat up on a weak opponent and have my tough competitor face a tough opponent than to have to face that tough opponent myself.

This is wrong. Or perhaps I should say it is very likely to be wrong for the win probabilities that predominate in baseball.

For instance, take the 1 game case, where the A's are 1 game back of the Rangers with 1 to play. The first option is that they play the Rangers head-to-head. Let's say that the A's are underdogs to the tune of only having a 40% chance to beat the Rangers. In that case, the probability that they will catch the Rangers is 40%.

The second option is that the A's play a weak opponent and the Rangers play a strong opponent. Let's say that the A's are now 60% favorites against their opponent and the Rangers are only 40% likely to beat their opponent. Now we are looking for the probability that the A's win and the Rangers lose. If these two games are independent, which they should be, then that probability equals the probability that A's win multiplied by the probability that the Rangers lose. That is 60% * 60% or .6 * .6 which is 36%. For the second option to be the better option, the A's would have to be large favorites and the Rangers would have to be large underdogs. This is even more true when we consider that the A's and Rangers head-to-head are probably much closer to 50/50 than 40/60. And even more true given that the Rangers are unlikely to be 40/60 dogs to anyone. If A's/Rangers is 50/50 and Rangers/Other Good Team is 50/50, then A's/Crappy Team has to be 100/0 just to give the same chance of catching the Rangers as playing them head-to-head. My guess would be that even the very worst MLB teams are rarely much worse than 30/70 underdogs in any given game.

Only if you accept that moving those games to a different time in the season would have changed their outcome. Which is possible, but not necessarily true. It could just have easily resulted in the season being remembered as the Rangers valiant charge to close the gap which fell just short.

No, you are misunderstanding what we are saying. We are not arguing that having more games against a division rival late in the season rather than early in the season matters if you are looking at the probability you make the playoffs at the beginning of the year. The point being made is that IF you are trailing late in the season, you are better off having games remaining against the team you are chasing than not. (Edit: It appears you realized the miscommunication here while I was posting.)

I guess some are reading this as some sort of dig on the A's accomplishment, but I don't really think that's true. Even though it's more likely to happen when playing head-to-head, it also means that you aren't relying on anyone else to do part of the job for you. Just because playing them head-to-head gives you a chance to go out and sweep (or go 5 of 6 in this case) and pass them, doesn't mean that it isn't impressive when you actually go out and do it.
   50. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 05, 2012 at 12:26 AM (#4254816)
So it's like Astros-Dodgers at the end of the 1980 season.... and BOTH TIMES, THE GOOD GUYS WON THE LAST GAME WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
   51. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 05, 2012 at 03:24 AM (#4254843)
How did the White Sox win a game between the Dodgers and Astros?
   52. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 05, 2012 at 06:18 AM (#4254850)
Skittles-era Astros... Ron Kittle came along a bit later. Common mistake.
   53. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 05, 2012 at 07:24 AM (#4254859)
I AM CONVEYING POINTS POORLY IN THIS THREAD!


Not at all. I was merely attempting to inject a bit of jocularity into the discussion.
   54. BDC Posted: October 05, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4254894)
Wow, a garden-of-forking-paths thread.

All I really know is that, however they got there, the A's came into the final series needing to sweep the team ahead of them to win their division, and they got it done. They could have made it easier on themselves by winning their series in Arlington the week before, but they split it, and the Rangers at that point were doing exactly what they needed to do: tread water long enough. And the Rangers even salvaged a game from that putrid Angels series that followed. And then Oakland just handed them their ### :)

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