In the midst of one of the most dismal seasons ever witnessed in Major League Baseball, the Oakland A’s had their postseason hopes dashed for 2023 this past weekend. With a record of 38-92, the A’s now find themselves an astounding 34.5 games adrift of a playoff spot, with just 32 games remaining in their calamitous campaign.
The A’s endured an early exit from the AL West race on August 20th, suffering a humiliating 12-1 loss to the Orioles. This marked the earliest elimination from the division race in franchise history, surpassing the previous record set by last year’s A’s on August 28th. Prior to 2022, the A’s had only been eliminated from the division race before September 1st on one occasion, which occurred back in 1979.
Currently, the A’s are on pace for a staggering 115 losses this season. If this unfortunate milestone is reached, it will tie them for the fourth-most losses in a single season in MLB history, the highest since the 2003 Tigers’ infamous 119 losses:
- 1962 New York Mets, 120 losses
- 2003 Detroit Tigers, 119 losses
- 1916 Philadelphia Athletics, 117 losses
- 1935 Boston Braves, 115 losses
- 1904 Washington Senators, 113 losses
The depths plumbed by the 2023 A’s can be attributed to a deliberate strategy by owner John Fisher. In his pursuit of maintaining a minimal payroll and advancing his plans for relocation to Las Vegas, Fisher orchestrated trades of key talents such as Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Murphy, Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas, and Sean Manaea since the conclusion of the 2021 season. Additionally, he allowed former manager Bob Melvin to depart for San Diego. In this regard, the A’s misfortunes are not only unsurprising but were also part of a premeditated course of action.
Now that the A’s have been ousted from playoff contention, despite six postseason berths available in each league, attention turns to the grim possibility of how many losses they might accumulate before the curtain falls on their season come October 1st.
Of significant note is that the A’s face one of the most challenging schedules in baseball over the remainder of the regular season, gauged by their opponents’ average winning percentage. Moreover, the majority of these games will be played away from home. Compounding their woes, the A’s currently sport a season run differential of minus-297. This figure places them within striking distance of the all-time record for the worst run differential in the annals of MLB, a dubious distinction held by the 1932 Red Sox with a dismal minus-349. Consequently, the 2023 A’s may not have completed their journey toward etching their names in the most unwelcome chapters of baseball history.