The 2013 Oakland Athletics are the only major-league baseball team this season to finish with a winning record in every month of the season, and after beating the Seattle Mariners, 9-0, on Sunday to finish the regular season, the A's will be looking to have a "winning" October for the first time since 1989.
That was the last time Oakland won the World Series, incidentally, and after being eliminated by the Detroit Tigers the last two times they've been to the postseason (2006 and 2012), the A's will be looking to exact revenge on the defending American League champions starting this Friday at the O.co Coliseum, in the AL Division Series.
Rookie Sonny Gray pitched five innings against the Mariners yesterday, lowering his season ERA to 2.67 while winning his fifth game in his short time in the majors. Oakland had seven players drive in runs in the whitewashing of Seattle.
The team now has four days off, at home, to prepare for Game One against the Tigers on Friday.
Overall, the A's finished the 2013 season with a 96-66 record (second best in the majors), while scoring 767 runs (fourth in the majors) and posting a 3.56 ERA (seventh in the majors). Oakland has now delivered a winning record for ten straight months, the longest such streak in MLB right now.
But if the A's can't get past Detroit in the ALDS, it'll just be another disappointing season for a franchise that has won nine World Series in its illustrious history, the third most in history.
Last year, of course, the Tigers beat Oakland at the Coliseum in Game 5, and it was the fifth time in the last six trips to the playoffs the A's lost an ALDS Game 5 (and the fourth time at home, no less).
The only time in the wild-card era Oakland has advanced to the AL Championship Series was in 2006, and again, it was Detroit that kicked the A's to the golf course in a four-game sweep.
So while last year, Oakland may have been just happy to there, this year, the A's know they can do something special if the baseball gods smile upon them.
Some statistical highlights from 2013 for Oakland:
- Third baseman Josh Donaldson hit .301 with 24 home runs and 93 RBI while posting an .883 OPS;
- First baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss hit 30 home runs in just 446 at-bats, for a sterling .522 slugging percentage;
- Centerfielder Coco Crisp joined the 20-20 club for the first time in his career, with 22 home runs and 21 steals;
- Starter Bartolo Colon finished second in the AL with a 2.65 ERA this year, his full-season career-low mark;
- Despite giving up a league-high 36 home runs, starter A.J. Griffin finished sixth in the AL with a 1.13 WHIP, ahead of luminaries Felix Hernandez, AL ERA leader Anibal Sanchez, John Lackey, James Shields, Jon Lester and Justin Verlander.
Game time for Friday's matchup against Detroit, presumably Verlander versus Colon, has yet to be announced by MLB.