"For me, there's a lot of positive to come from this season," said A's reliever Brad Ziegler. "But it's also one of missed opportunities. When you finish this close to the playoffs, you look back and realize there are games that I personally could have pitched better. If I had executed a few more pitches, it might have made a difference in two or three games, and maybe even more. I'm sure everybody kind of looks back and feels the same way."
While Oakland should be proud to lead the AL in team ERA (3.57) and shutouts (16), it was never able to stray far from the .500 mark this season. But the team did form a new identity as a scrappy team that relies on pitching, defense, situational hitting and stolen bases.
Manager Bob Geren said he expects the team to keep the same offensive philosophy next season, while also saying the current pitching compares favorably to the A's vaunted staffs of the last decade. The way it looks now, the A's have another burgeoning big three in Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Brett Anderson, who have an average age of 23.
Alas, the team also went through its usual rash of injuries, using the disabled list 23 times this season, two trips short of the Oakland record set in 2008. The overwhelming sentiment within the clubhouse is the A's are close to becoming an elite team, but that they need to add some more pop to the lineup.
With no new stadium in sight, the A's will remain at the archaic Oakland Coliseum for the time being. The 2010 season was marked with consistently sparse crowds. Entering play Sunday, the A's ranked last in MLB attendance, averaging 17,467 fans a game.
"It's always tough to leave our fans here," Ziegler said. "Our fans are so passionate and our fans are so supportive -- the ones that come out."