I remember some of us had a discussion about the A's and how well they'd do in the second half.
Here's a listing of the A's overall, 2nd half, August, and September records during Beane's tenure as GM:
Year Overall 2nd half August Sept
1998 74-88 33-43 15-15 11-13
1999 87-75 44-31 19-10 15-15
2000 91-70 43-32 11-16 22-7
2001 102-60 58-17 22-7 23-4
2002 103-59 53-21 24-4 18-8
2003 96-66 42-27 20-9 14-11
2004 91-71 44-32 20-8 13-18
2005 88-74 44-31 17-11 13-17
so far in
2006 77-56 32-13 21-6 0-0
Except for the first year of Beane's GMship, the A's have had a better record in the 2nd half than the 1st half.
They have been especially good in August (probably the hottest month) having very good months except for 1998 and 2000 (and even 1998's August was better than the rest of the season).
While I don't know why they do it or even if this run is based on something beside luck, I was expecting this outburst by the A's at the beginning of August, and, unfortunately, they delivered.
I have a couple of hypotheses of why they do so well in the 2nd half (and, specifically, in August).
- Beane has stated the first 2 months are for assessing what you have. The next 2 months are for acquiring what you need. And the final 2 months are for those teams to finish off the season. I happen to think that Beane is one of the top 5 GMs in the game, and specifically in trades, he's been very good at getting precisely what he needed. If you look at it, August is the first month after the trade deadline. So, August is possibly the month where Beane finally has all the chips in place that he wants to let his team make a run.
- Beane is excellent at acquiring cheap depth players for his teams. That depth doesn't really seem to show it's value until August when the fields are at their hottest and 4 months of nicks and scratches are starting to take their toll on most starters. Since the A's don't lose as much value going from their starters to their backups, they're able to do much better than teams which don't have that quality depth, and hence, their Augusts tend to be much better.
- Since August is the hottest month and the A's usually do a good job of pre-habbing for injuries, their players are likely to be in better shape to handle the heat than other players. This hypothesis seems the weakest to me, but I just wanted to throw it out there since it seems plausible.
Basically, the A's being so good as they have for so long during the 2nd half and specifically August seems to me more than a fluke. And I wouldn't be surprised if it had to do more with the GM than the player, situation, or luck.
Unfortunately, as we are in the same division as Beane's A's, unless the Rangers can duplicate what the A's do in the 2nd half or build up a massive lead in the 1st half, I feel like the Rangers are going to have a lot of similar years to this one in the near future.