Is it just me, or does the A’s season bear an uncanny resemblance to the plot of Weekend at Bernie’s II? I mean, the A’s are obviously Bernie Lomax in this analogy. They’ve invested a league low $59.5 million and have somehow derived four times the value. Don’t ask me who/what represent Larry Wilson and Richard Parker. I haven’t gotten that far in my analogy.
In any case, aside from a boggling financial portfolio, the A’s are Bernie because they refuse to die — even when seemingly pulseless. And they’ve been pulseless since April. Media organizations like the Sporting News claimed “the A’s have all but assured themselves of a last-place finish this season.” Even Grant Brisbee was in agreement, noting “The A’s won’t finish above third place for a couple of years.” Still, against better judgement, the A’s carry on, as if propelled by some voodoo magic toward the ultimate prize.
Unfortunately, I can’t explain the voodoo behind the A’s success. It defies logic, and frankly, I’m not ready to un-suspend my disbelief just yet. What I can explain — or show via screenshots –is great defense, which was on display Tuesday.
The first impressive catch belongs to Coco Crisp, the man whose fielding gaff may have cost them Game 2 of the series.
Crisp (pictured) robs Prince Fielder (not pictured) of a game-tying home run in the top of the second, while essentially setting the tone for the rest of the game. In the words of Brett Anderson:
The second is courtesy of Yeonis Cespedes, whose diving stop in the seventh perserved the Prince Fielder’s misery and, more importantly, the A’s victory.
— Of course no discussion of Game 3 would be complete without mentioning Brett Anderson, whose effort initiated just the 11th postseason shutout in Oakland’s history. Those six strikeouts and two hits allowed over six shutout innings notwithstanding, Anderson’s 0.33 WPA is tied for the best among pitchers this postseason (he and CC Sabathia share the distinction). So, yeah, he pitched pretty well.
— The A’s have never come back from an 0-2 deficit in the postseason, though this is the team to break that streak if there ever was one. They’ve already defied odds tonight–the A’s were 0-5 in their past five postseason elimination games–and there’s no reason to think they can’t do it again.