For anyone whose knowledge of the Oakland A’s doesn’t extend far past Moneyball, it may come as a surprise to hear that the Billy Bean-managed team has been such an example of mediocrity over the past decade in a half. With the A’s 6-4 win against the Chicago White Sox, they took the best of three wild card series 2-1, advancing past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2006. One small caveat though: they advanced in the first year of an extended playoff field where the usual 10-team format was expanded to 16 teams. They still would have made the playoffs with the 36-24 record that was good for third place in the American League, but the opponent that the drew would have been much more formidable if it had been it’s usual 10-team format.

This was also the first time since 1973 that the A’s won a winner-take-all game. The last time being against Willie Mays and the New York Mets. “Rinetti, it happened!” A’s president Dave Kaval hollered to 40th-year stadium operations chief David Rinetti from the field up into the stands afterward. “1973, baby!” Rinetti yelled.

Looking forward, the A’s are set to face the Houston Astros in the divisional round and these teams have some history. When the Astros sign-stealing scam broke last year, the main whistleblower was current A’s relief pitcher Mike Fiers who revealed his former club’s cheating in an article in The Athletic. “We’re in the middle of it. There’s a little bit of kind of that going on there that we want to make sure they know what they’ve done and we can prove it to them and make sure we’re also the top team in the AL West,” Liam Hendriks said. “But there’s also not being petty and not letting our emotions get the better of us by trying to be over the top and vengeful.”


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