Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/13/13
The Oakland Athletics had a great 2013 season. Even though their dugout was filled with unknown players, older pitchers, and young rookies, the Athletics showed that they could play with the big dogs. The team did hit a rough patch in August and lost in game five of the ALDS, but overall the Athletics had some amazing moments this year. Bartolo Colon’s Win Streak This 40-year-old pitcher was not meant to be the Athletics star pitcher. But throughout the 2013 season, Colon became the Athletics’ ace. From mid-May to late June, Colon had an 8-game win streak. He is only the 2nd pitcher in Athletic’s history to earn 11 wins before the month of July. His success in June which consisted of a perfect 5-0 record rewarded him with the American League Pitching for the Month of June award. Colon ended the season with a 2.65 ERA and an 18-6 record. Over the past 15 years, Colon has played with 7 teams, claimed 4 monthly awards, and won a Cy Young Award. But his win streak and overall success this season has proven to the MLB that a 40-year-old pitcher can still be an ace. Josh Donaldson’s Diving Catch Josh Donaldson was great both defensively and offensively this year. This season, he acquired 24 home runs and 93 RBI with a .301 AVG. However, his shining moment was in early September during a series against the Texas Rangers. Ranger David Murphy hit a foul pop-up to the left of third base. Donaldson ran and, as he approached the wall, he did not stop. He dived over the rolled-up tarp, stretched out his arm, and caught the ball. He then disappeared between the rolled-up tarp and the wall but holds onto the ball for the out. By risking injury for a foul ball, Donaldson showed that he was not only a committed baseball player, but also a committed team member. Grant Balfour’s Save Streak Originally from Australia, Balfour was undrafted in 1997, but was able to sign with the Minnesota Twins. Throughout his time as an MLB player, he has bounced between the majors and minors and played with four different teams. When he arrived at the O.co Coliseum in 2011, he was determined to succeed. At 35-years-old, the A’s are the only team to ever designate Balfour as a closer. And they made the right decision. This season, Balfour had an 18 consecutive saves from the start of the season all the way till June 22nd. He set the Athletics’ record for the most consecutive saves. On June 23rd, Balfour recorded his blown save, but that did not shake him. He ended the season with 38 saves out of 41 chances. His fiery attitude and unwavering commitment helped propel the team to many victories. Almost Sweeping the Detroit Tigers The Tigers are seen as the powerhouse team of the MLB. They have well known pitchers that throw hard and players that bat harder. In late August, these two teams met in Detroit for a four game series. The Athletics shocked the world by winning the first three games of the series. And they did not win by chance, they won because they were the better team both defensively and at the plate. The Athletics racked up a total of 34 runs over the course of the four games. They lost the last game of the series when Torii Hunter blasted a three run home run in the bottom of the ninth. Detroit may have won the last game of the series, but this series proved that the Athletics could roll with the big dogs. September: The Comeback Month When September rolled around, the Oakland Athletics were two games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West. The Athletics were determined to defend their AL West title that they had earned last year on the last day of the regular season. The schedule was in their favor for September since the A’s played only seven games against teams with a .500 or higher record. The Oakland Athletics won 19 out of the 27 games they played in the last month of the regular season. The ended the season with 96-66 record – which was the second best AL record behind the Boston Red Sox – and five and a half games ahead of the Texas Rangers. They had an amazing run in September and showed they deserved a spot in the postseason.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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