The A’s, who have won the AL West two seasons in a row, are leading the division again by four games and are 21 games over .500.
There’s no doubt that GM Billy Beane is trying to put his team in a position to win a championship, but they haven’t been able to get past the Tigers and Verlander in the ALDS in the last two seasons.
Here’s a quote from Verlander via MLB.com’s Jason Beck and Matt Slovin:
“I found it very interesting,” Verlander said Saturday. “Really, when I saw that trade, I thought that they made that trade for us. No doubt about it in my mind. If they want to win a World Series, they’re envisioning that they have to go through us, and even though it’s been two fantastic series, it’s been heartbreaking for them the last two years.”
Though the Athletics‘ rotation had performed well prior to the trade, posting a 3.30 ERA (good for fifth in baseball), rotation depth was one of their more obvious weaknesses.
Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir have been among the best one-two punches in baseball, but the A’s couldn’t feel comfortable relying on Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone in the post-season, especially given that Chavez is a full-time starter for the first time in his major league career.
Though Milone performed well, Oakland obviously feels they need guys that can miss more bats than he does.