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A playoff season through the eyes of AN

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What a wonderful season.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of things that make baseball the very best sport, chief among them its unpredictability. The A’s are going to the playoffs with the lowest payroll in baseball, the tattered remains of an already subpar rotation, playing in one of the hardest divisions after getting off to just a miserable start.

With 162 games in a long season, baseball gives you more ups and downs than any sport, and allows for a slow, sometimes painful, sometimes joyous story to take shape. Let’s recap the surprise playoff season that was.

March 4

Rotation Battle: Currently “6 To Make 5”

Nico thinks over which of the six potential A’s pitchers are most likely to fill out the starting rotation. Guess how many of those six are currently in the A’s rotation?

And then there were 6. Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea are locks, leaving Daniel Mengden, Paul Blackburn, Andrew Triggs, and Jharel Cotton fighting for 3 spots. Obviously any injury could solve the logjam for Oakland, but if all are healthy I see two outcomes as being most likely:

The answer is roughly .5 and yet, playoffs.

March 24

Oakland A’s are running out of pitchers before the season even starts

Let’s do a quick list of the bad news:

Jharel Cotton is out for the year.

Paul Blackburn is out with a forearm strain, though it’s not yet considered serious.

Jesse Hahn was traded, but it doesn’t matter because he got hurt anyway and is on his new team’s 60-day DL.

Frankie Montas was scheduled to stretch out as a starter, but missed most of spring with a shoulder problem.

The next three prospects in line are out for now: A.J. Puk (biceps tightness), Grant Holmes(shoulder), and Heath Fillmyer (traded to Royals). Puk and Holmes aren’t yet considered serious, but don’t count on seeing them on the mound to start the year.

The headline could not be more honest and yet this team made the freaking playoffs.

March 26

The battle for center field on the Oakland A’s

Control-F

This season is just so funny. Laureano was on no one’s radar coming into the season, now he may well lead off the Wild Card game.

March 27

The worst and best case scenarios for the Oakland A’s

In which some dumbass think the A’s can only win 89 games in 2018 if things break right.

April 1

Eyeball Scout Rips the A’s a New One

The A’s are 1-3 with a 7% chance of making the playoffs. And not like a good 1-3, just the worst 1-3. Let’s check in on the comments.

Glad we screwed the pooch on judging who screwed the pooch.

April 14

Game #15: A’s Score 8 Runs! (And Give Up 10)

The A’s are 6-10, their playoff odds are around 3%. Morale is low, as is the A’s starting pitcher counts. Let’s check in to see how people are doing.

April 18

Free Game, Free Vibes

The overall theme was great vibes. When they announced the “Paid Attendance” of 00000 everybody let out a raucous cheer. Everyone was just happy to be there and it was the place to be. Which really, I can’t remember happening on a Tuesday night at the Coliseum. Yes, the tickets were free. No, it wasn’t making some overarching statement of how the A’s can be successful (or unsuccessful).

It was just a party. And a damn good one.

April was largely butt, yet the free game was absolutely one of the highlights of the season. Incredible idea, incredible execution, incredible crowd.

April 21

Game #21: No Hitter!

It never gets old.

May 7

Game #35: A’s lose 16-2 to ‘‘Slumping” ‘Stros

This is mean but very funny.

May is just a few months back, yet feels like a whole different season.

May 19

End of Trip Reality Check, In Both Directions

Some signs of positive life on the blog after the A’s swept the Blue Jays.

Buyers at the deadline, letting go of a top prospect to make a run in 2018? I doubt it. Strangely able to compete with the group they have? Possibly. Even with Triggs and Anderson down, at the end of this trip the A’s and their fans have every right to feel better about the team’s chances than they did a week ago, not just for the wins but also for how those wins transpired. If nothing else, no one is looking forward to playing the A’s and that’s always a great sign.

June 15

The Nadir

June 16

The beginning

The comment is an unqualified gem. With the context of making the playoffs, it’s **chef’s kiss**.

June 26

Late inning magic

The A’s had a lot of moments that felt like pure destiny, starting with this road trip which the A’s really had no business dominating.

I’m sure at some point when things were looking dire, the A’s FO explored the option of trading away some veterans. Thank fuck they did not.

June 30

Nico’s take on what 3 things need to happen for a WC spot

Kinda on #1, yes on #2, and yes on #3 if we’re allowing some lenience on date.

A comment gone wrong

A comment gone so, so right.

July 10

Jed in the All-Star Game

An injustice rectified.

July 10

The most hilarious walkoff which I contend is now funny since the A’s are playoff bound

Look at this trash. It’s amazing!

July 12

The A’s take three of four from the ‘stros, and now everyone’s a believer!

July 15

Mark Canha bat flip? Mark Canha bat flip.

July 22

Dumb walkoffs are much more fun when they happen in your favor

July 24

My personal favorite game of the year: the ridiculous comeback

We should just put that whole series on a loop you can watch anytime you need a little pick me up.

July 31

The A’s don’t trade for Mike Fiers

August 1

A’s tied with the Mariners for the second WC

August 6

A’s do trade for Mike Fiers

How do we feel, AN?

August 11

The throw

August 18

It feels good to be in first, even if it’s for but a day

September 2

Cause Piscotty didn’t get enough love here and truly deserves it

September 21

Khris Davis also deserves all of the love

September 24

The A’s are in the playoffs

September 25

The A’s are in the playoffs?

September 25

The Oakland Athletics are in the freaking playoffs!

Soak it in, Athletics Nation. The A’s are in the playoffs, and they’re doing so as the hottest team in the league and as the darlings of the sport. If you want to know the definition of a Team Of Destiny, then you’re watching it play out right now. The next step is to do what the last couple decades of Oakland clubs couldn’t, and turn this postseason berth into something more. Anything can happen in the playoffs, so it’s time to set those sights on a goal I couldn’t have fathomed back in March — a World Series title.

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Hit us with your favorite AN moments of 2018!