I do love a civilized debate, especially when the deck is stacked in my favor. Therefore, when I read Jason Burke’s article “Why the Oakland A’s Will Be Better Than the SF Giants in 2014,” I said, “Deal Me In.” This should be as easy as taking eight out of nine of our last World Series games. The Oakland A’s are, in fact, not a better team than the San Francisco Giants; quite the contrary, the Giants are definitively the superior club and here are five reasons why.
The Oakland Athletics have been good enough to make the playoffs the past two seasons, but have lacked that which is necessary to drive the peg home. The Giants have won World Series Championships two of the past four seasons. Why bring up 2010, when only the past two seasons are under the periscope? The answer is because there are nine players on the current Giants’ squad, who have been on both of those two world class rides, since you have described AT&T as an amusement park. Three of those players are starting pitchers. Our starters have thrown four shutouts during the last two world series. Enough said.
Secondly, the contention that the Giants have not “added enough to their roster to significantly improve” is simply incorrect. The Giants’ left fielders last year combined for five home runs. Last season, during the month of April alone, Michael Morse hit nine home runs. That is “significant” improvement. Barry Zito never won a start on the road last season. By your own admission, “Huddy [sigh] is a solid pitcher and they are lucky to have him.” Again, that is “significant” improvement.
Third, I do not know that the Giants considered Mike Kickham to be their “most qualified pitcher” when they brought him up last season. It’s a moot point. I think Edwin Escobar will be more likely to get the nod than Kickham. All Escobar did was produce a 2.67 ERA with a 9K/9 and 4.15 K/BB, after a mid-season promotion to AA. With the acquisition of southpaw David Huff, projected to be the Yankees’ fifth starter before they acquired Masahiro Tanaka from Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles, the Giants feel they have strengthened their pitching staff considerably.
Meanwhile, what have the A’s done to improve their pitching? I mean of course, besides losing the 28 victories that Bartolo Colon has supplied them with the past two seasons. Depending on whom you talk to, the A’s have seven guys trying to fill five pitching slots. All five Giants starters are All-Stars, with a dozen appearances among them at the mid-summer classic. That even sounds gaudy to me.
Finally, the Giants are the better team because they have Bruce Bochy. Bob Melvin has done an excellent job-no doubt about it-just not quite good enough. In Bochy, the Giants have a master at the helm, to ensure the ship delivers.
This year the star ride at the amusement park, otherwise known as AT&T, will be a playoff run culminating in yet another Crown, while the A’s tally up their win totals for the last three years and say, “Yep, we got the most wins.”