Handicapping the Oakland Athletics After Landing Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel
Oakland Athletics 53-33
Saturday, July 5, 2014
The Line: Oakland A's See the Latest Odds
The Oakland Athletics have been the best team in baseball for quite some time and the recent trade for Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija puts them over the top. The A’s already had two aces in Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray, and now add two other guys with more than 100 strikeouts and an ERA that’s under 3.00.
The Athletics are now the World Series favorites with odds of +550, but does that mean you bite?
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I say no.
As I mentioned before, the Athletics are one of the top baseball teams we’ve seen in quite some time. They are first in runs scored and third in one base percentage, while the pitching staff has the second best ERA in baseball and just got even better by taking the Chicago Cubs top two pitchers from them. Shoot, the A’s are 42-11 this season when scoring more than three runs. The batting lineup and pitching combo is simply insane and makes it tough to imagine any team beating them at this very moment.
However, everybody needs to pump the brakes a little bit and realize that we still have a long way to go before declaring a World Series champ. We’re not even at the All-Star break yet. This is also the sport of baseball where the best team usually falls on its face come playoff time.
The San Francisco Giants weren’t expected to make it out of the National League a couple of years ago and the St. Louis Cardinals were lucky to even make the playoffs in 2011. Anybody remember the Florida Marlins who have two titles in the last 20 years? In other words, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and this sport has given us many underdog stories that usually force me to shy away from the overall favorite.
Speaking of the Athletics, this is a team that hasn’t won a title since 1990 and has fallen short the last eight times it’s made the playoffs. That includes A’s teams that won more than 100 games in 2001 and 2002. With another possible 100-win team in sight, I see a trend going on.
The World Series isn’t won in the regular season and the American League is no joke with the Detroit Tigers and others looking pretty good as well. It’s just too difficult to be the best team throughout the regular season and the playoffs.
With the team Oakland has on paper, odds of +550 still provide some value if you want to throw a few dollars in that direction. However, you can bet that when October comes around, I’ll be on the underdogs once again and laughing to the bank when another title favorite falls short.