|2014 Oakland Athletics|
|American League Wild Card|
|Major League affiliations|
|Owner(s)||Lewis Wolff, John Fisher|
|General manager(s)||Billy Beane|
|Local television||Comcast SportsNet California|
(Glen Kuiper, Ray Fosse, Shooty Babitt)
(Ken Korach, Vince Cotroneo, Ray Fosse)
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The 2014 Oakland Athletics season was the 46th for the franchise at O.co Coliseum, as well as the 114th in club history. The Athletics entered the season hoping to win a third consecutive American League West championship; to that end, the team made a number of key signings and trades during the 2013-14 MLB offseason. Notably, Athletics traded outfielder Michael Choice for left fielder Craig Gentry and pitcher Josh Lindblom; they also traded the promising but oft-injured Brett Anderson for reliever Drew Pomeranz. Additional trades brought in relievers Fernando Abad (acquired for John Wooten), Luke Gregerson (acquired for Seth Smith), and Jim Johnson (acquired for Jemile Weeks and David Freitas). In free agency, the Athletics signed former All-Star starting pitcher Scott Kazmir to a two-year deal. These moves, among others, sought to bolster the depth of team's starting pitching and bullpen.
Shortly before the season opener, the Athletics were dealt a huge blow when starting pitchers Jarrod Parker and A. J. Griffin were ruled out for the season. The team responded by promoting reliever Jesse Chavez (and, eventually, Drew Pomeranz) to the starting rotation. Despite this setback, the team raced out to an impressive start; by the All-Star Break, the Athletics had compiled a league-best record of 59-36. Unexpectedly strong performances by starting pitchers Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, and Drew Pomeranz enabled much of this surge; the Athletics' red-hot hitters (particularly sluggers Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Céspedes, and Brandon Moss) also played a major role.
Despite their fantastic first-half performance, the Athletics remained locked in a tight battle for first place in the American League West. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, like the Athletics, had also raced out to an impressive start; at the All-Star Break, the Angels owned the league's second-best record (and, at 57-37, only trailed the Athletics by 1.5 games). In part because of this, the Athletics traded noted prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, along with starting pitcher Dan Straily, to the Chicago Cubs for two starters (ace Jeff Samardzija and veteran Jason Hammel) on July 4th.
The Athletics continued to play well throughout July. Still, they failed to gain significant ground on the Angels. On July 31, with a scant 2.5 game lead over Los Angeles, the Athletics stunned the league by trading Yoenis Céspedes for all-star starter Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes. In the week immediately following the trade, things went well for the team; by August 9th, they had raised their lead over the Angels to four games. From that point forward, however, the A's were met with disaster. A historic collapse, defined largely by ineffective hitting and a spate of narrow losses, saw Oakland tumble in the American League standings; all told, the team won just 16 of its final 46 games. The Athletics only managed to clinch an AL Wild-Card berth on the final day of the regular season. The team finished some ten games behind the Angels, who clinched the league's best record with an impressive 98-64 finish.
The Athletics met the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 American League Wild Card Game. The Athletics held a 7-3 lead over the Royals through seven innings; a furious Royals rally, however, saw the Royals tie the game by scoring three runs in the eighth inning and one run in the ninth. In the 12th inning, the Athletics' took an 8-7 lead on an Alberto Callaspo line drive; the Royals, however, would again rally for a 9-8 walk-off victory (their first playoff win in 29 years). The Athletics did not reach the postseason again until the 2018 season.
Oakland's 2014 season was full of ups and downs. They held the best record in the MLB at (59-36) going into the All-Star break, and were ranked by the Bleacher Report as the number one team in Major League Baseball. By mid-August, however, the Athletics had quickly begun losing ground in the AL race with a record of (11-25) through a 36-game span from August 10, to September 19, and were in the midst of what some called an historic collapse. General manager Billy Beane and his well-known "Moneyball" strategy came under increased scrutiny when Oakland made several personnel transactions, the most significant of which was finalized on July 31, 2014, while they still maintained a 2-game division lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This deal sent All Star left fielder Yoenis Céspedes to the Boston Red Sox in return for starting pitcher Jon Lester and veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes. They would finish the season with a record of (88-74) and finished the second half of the year with a (29-38) record. Ended the season 10 games out of first place behind the Angels, and barely clinched the 2nd Wild Card spot just one game ahead of division rival, Seattle Mariners.
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||98||64||0.605||--||52-29||46-35|
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||98||64||0.605|
Wild Card teams|
(Top two qualify for postseason)
|Kansas City Royals||89||73||0.549||+1|
|New York Yankees||84||78||0.519||4|
|Toronto Blue Jays||83||79||0.512||5|
|Tampa Bay Rays||77||85||0.475||11|
|Chicago White Sox||73||89||0.451||15|
|Boston Red Sox||71||91||0.438||17|
|Final season record|
Source: AL Standings Head-to-Head
|Athletics Win||Athletics Loss||Game Postponed / Tie||Home Game|
The 2014 American League Wild Card game took place on September 30, 2014 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Oakland Athletics took on the Kansas City Royals. Oakland went out to an early lead after a first inning 2-run home run from Brandon Moss, scoring Coco Crisp. Kansas City responded in the bottom half of the inning, and trimmed Oakland's Lead to 1 after a Billy Butler single, scoring Nori Aoki. The Royals later took the lead in the 3rd inning, following two RBI singles from Lorenzo Cain, and Eric Hosmer. In the top of the 6th inning, Brandon Moss hit his second homerun of the game, which scored Sam Fuld and Josh Donaldson. Followed by RBI singles from Derek Norris and Coco Crisp, making the score 7-3 Oakland after 6 innings. The Royals then scored 3 more runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, making the score 7-6. Kansas City would later tie the game in the bottom of the 9th using their well documented "small ball" techniques, and scored from an Aoki sacrifice fly, sending the game to extra innings. Both teams remained scoreless until the top of the 12th, where Alberto Callaspo scored Josh Reddick on a single to left field, which put the Athletics up 8-7. In the bottom of the 12th Kansas city rallied back, and tied the game on an infield single, and later won the game in walk-off fashion on a Salvador Pérez single down the 3rd base line. The 2014 AL Wild Card playoff game became the longest game in the history of the MLB wild card. The Royals would later continue their hot streak, and found themselves in the 2014 World Series, where they later lost to the San Francisco Giants.
The following players represented the Athletics at the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game:
|AAA||Sacramento River Cats||Pacific Coast League||Steve Scarsone|
|AA||Midland RockHounds||Texas League||Aaron Nieckula|
|A||Stockton Ports||California League||Ryan Christenson|
|A||Beloit Snappers||Midwest League||Rick Magnante|
|A-Short Season||Vermont Lake Monsters||New York-Penn League||David Newhan|
|Rookie||AZL Athletics||Arizona League||Ruben Escalera|
LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Midland