A’s streakiness lives on 17 years after crazy 2002 season

first_imgOakland went from 68-51 and 4 1/2 games behind the Angels to 88-51 and 3 1/2 games up in the division.Sept. 29, 2002On this date, the A’s concluded their season with their ninth win in 11 contests, which helped them seal the AL West by a four game margin. Oakland, using that last run, finished the campaign with 103 victories, one back of its franchise record. It was the Angels, however, who went on to win the World Series with their own hot streak while the A’s crumpled in the ALDS. But the stretch represented just one piece of a streaky, strange season in which the A’s alternated between an all-time great regular-season team and an abomination. In addition to their 20-game run, they delivered a stretch of 16 wins in 17 games. They also lost 14 of 17 and seven of nine at other junctures in the campaign.Over the past 20 years, as first pointed out by ESPN’s Sam Miller, Oakland has been under .500 in April and May but won 56 percent of its games in August. The organization often relies on late-season runs to reach the postseason. Over the past two seasons, the A’s are 52-29 after July. Their 2019 run has them tied for a wild-card spot entering Wednesday.MORE: Angels expose replay review oddityHere’s a look back at Oakland’s 2002 season, which established the standard for A’s streakiness:May 21, 2002On this date, the A’s completed a 3-14 slump by losing in the 14th inning to the lowly Orioles. Over that 17-game stretch, a normally potent offense batted .229 and averaged just three runs per contest. First baseman Carlos Pena went 4 for 35 and was promptly replaced by Scott Hatteberg, a change highlighted in the “Moneyball” film.Oakland dropped to 19-25 and fell 10 games back of the Angels in the AL West.June 24, 2002On this date, the A’s finished their run of 16 wins in 17 games, a precursor to the 20-game win streak ahead. Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson combined to go 10-0 with a 2.06 ERA during the run.Oakland advanced to 44-31 and moved to two games back of the Angels.July 30, 2002On this date, the A’s lost for the seventh time in nine games, their vaunted pitching staff posting a 5.68 ERA in games against the Angels, Rangers and Indians.Oakland lost three games in the standings to the Angels, slipping to five games back at the deadline.Sept. 4, 2002On this date, the A’s won their 20th straight game in front of more than 55,000 at the Coliseum. The 2002 A’s are probably best known for their 20-game winning streak, at the time the longest in American League history. Oakland’s run, which concluded Sept. 4 of that season, has endured as a core part of the “Moneyball” legacy and been celebrated by Hollywood. Scott Hatteberg’s walkoff home run to clinch win No. 20 was iconic.last_img

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