Well, the Oakland A’s have made magic for the second year in a row, winning the American League West and preparing to head to the playoffs, despite being put together with paper clips and scotch tape. We’ve seen this story before: The A’s sign a bunch of nobodies, fortify the pitching staff with teenagers, and shock the rest of the league by winning ninety games. Unfortunately, the flip side is brutal. The A’s haven’t been to the World Series since 1990, and haven’t won since defeating the Giants in the shaky 1989 match up. Year after year, the team proves scrappy enough to get there, and then nearly immediately drops against a richer, more powerful foe like the Yankees or Tigers.
Time will tell if this year will be different, but here’s our forecasting of the fate of the Bay’s lone postseason representative:
If the A’s play the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series…
You can count on the Coliseum to be mostly clad in red. It’s an unfortunate side effect of playing against a premiere team: Their “fans” come crawling onto the bandwagon and into the Coliseum. The A’s will still have a strong showing, but chances are that mythical home-field advantage won’t do them many favors.
Prediction: A’s win in five games and then lose in the American League Championship Series.
If the A’s play the Tampa Bay Rays
Expect the most anonymous postseason series in Major League history. Aside from Evan Longoria and Yoenis Cespedes, the two teams combine for exactly zero star power. And I’m even being generous with those two guys. It’s a shame, too. Because on paper, this is one of the most intriguing postseason head-to-heads available.
Prediction: A’s win in four games and then lose in the ALCS.
If the A’s play the Cleveland Indians
You’d better hope they intentionally walk old friend Nick Swisher as much as possible. For some reason, the world’s biggest bro absolutely smashes against the A’s, and could make the difference in a short series. Otherwise, the A’s match up pretty well against Cleveland and would probably make mincemeat of the Tribe.
Prediction: A’s win in three games and then lose in the ALCS.
If the A’s play the Detroit Tigers
You've probably sensed a pattern in this story so far. The Tigers are so good in every aspect of the game that I fully expect the 2012 American League champs to repeat and make another World Series run. If the A’s have to face Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez in the same series, well at least it won’t be a soul-crushing Magglio Ordonez walk-off this time around.
Prediction: A’s lose in four games.