Billy Beane, much like Little League icon "Big Al," loves dingers.
The A's executive vice president of baseball operations told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Friday that he sees hitting home runs, rather than the mythical "little things," as the key to Oakland's -- and any team's -- playoff hopes.
“I’ve always been a big fan of the home run,” Beane said. “And during this time of year people like to attach some sort of, ‘Oh, he got the runner over, they won the game because of that.’ And you hear this narrative, ‘It’s the little things that win in the postseason.’ Actually, it’s the big things. If you hit homers, you win. I think the teams that out-homered the other teams are 10-0 in games this year.
“You’ve heard it, ‘Aw, it’s the little things, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to steal a base.’ No. Hit homers. You hit homers, you win.”
Home-run-hitting teams got even better after Beane's conversation with Kawakami. Thanks to the Miami Marlins and San Diego Padres' series-clinching victories on Friday, teams that hit more homers than their opponents were a perfect 12-0 across all eight Wild Card Series.
This makes sense, considering MLB's convergence on the three true outcomes -- strikeouts, walks and home runs -- in recent years. If it holds true in all the four Divisional Series, the A's should have a slight edge over the Astros.
Oakland hit two more home runs (71) than Houston (69) this season. The A's also out-homered the Astros 12-7 in the teams' 10 regular-season games, winning seven.
They'll have to buck a worrisome trend to fulfill Beane's maxim at the start of the ALDS, however. Lance McCullers and Framber Valdez, the Astros' scheduled starters for Games 1 and 2, respectively, allowed just one home run between them in two starts against the A's. Houston won both games.