Documenting the Athletics – From Philadelphia, to Kansas City, to Oakland and Finally to Fremont
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The Athletics are somewhat hamstrung. They had one of the worst offenses in baseball and their best hitter, Josh Willingham, is probably one his way out. Willingham wants to stay but he was told that no deals will be made until the A’s stadium situation is resolved. With no end in site, A’s fans could be looking at another stinker of a season. Willingham belted 29 home runs and finally showed some of the offense people thought he’d have as a prospect. Kurt Suzuki was the next best home run hitter with just 14.
Take out Willingham and this offense is pretty weak. David DeJesus and his 93 OPS+ might also be on the way out. So if things hold and the A’s don’t make many moves, you could be looking at the 2011 Sacramento RiverCats being your 2012 Oakland Athletics.
Brandon McCarthy has had a come back season of sorts. Once a blue chip White Sox prospect, he was dealt to the Rangers where he struggled for three seasons. Now he’s with the Athletics and while his win/loss record isn’t anything to write home about, he’s had a great season for the Athletics. Tonight was no exception with an impressive three hit shutout over the hapless Mariners.
He needed 114 pitches to get through the Mariners in this one. He struck out ten and didn’t allow a single walk. It was his first shutout of the season and probably his best game.
Cliff Pennington went one for four with a double and two RBIs. Scott Sizemore hit his eighth home run of the season.
That was win number 63 on the season. Not that it matters, but there’s just a slim chance they’ll fall into last place. Not that third is any more appealing then fourth.
Well, a tough season is winding down. I don’t think a lot of people though the A’s would be at the top but they had a decent run in the first half before falling out of the race. For a while they were in last but the Mariners have played some bad ball as of late and the A’s find themselve in third place, yet still a distant third from the contendors.
Yesterday was a 6-2 loss to the Indians. Trevor Cahill was rolling along but he ran into trouble in the sixth inning. In all, he gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Three different hitters had a pair of hits. Cliff Pennington was one of those guys and he drove in a run, had a double and stole a base.
The Indians series continues. Rich Harden gets the ball and the A’s will face Ubaldo Jimenez.
The Athletics took care of the Mariners 2-0 behind a fantastic start by Guillermo Moscoso. He threw seven shutout innings and he gave up just two hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Andrew Bailey threw a shutout ninth and he picked up his eighth save of the season.
The A’s managed just five hits with Scott Sizemore playing a role in both runs. He hit a solo home run in the first inning then he singled home Pennington in the fifth.
That puts the A’s at 39-49 and they’re still in last. Still, I can see them passing up the Mariners at some point. It’ll also be interesting to see what the A’s pull off at the trade deadline.
It wasn’t the best month for the A’s. Early on they were playing .500 ball and were at least close to first. Now they’re in last place and they’re four losses back of even reaching the Mariners who sit in third. Even worse, they dropped two of three to a pretty mediocre Marlins team.
Scoring runs has been a problem and their four runs in the loss yesterday was actually one of their better games recently. This one was 5-0 and the A’s made a comeback but fell short. Trevor Cahill had a rough start and he gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings. Trystan Magnunson pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings of relief to help the A’s get back into it but even that wasn’t enough.
David DeJesus went two for three with a pair of runs. Kurt Suzuki went two for four with a home run and two RBIs.
Next up are the Diamondbacks. Rich Harden makes his redebut with the A’s tonight.
The Athletics still sit in last place. That’s the bad news. The good news is the A’s are just 2 1/2 games back of the first place Rangers, who only have a 29-26 record. Two months into the season and nobody has stepped out in front so this could be an interesting season in the AL West.
The Athletics lost their second straight game against the Yankees. Brett Anderson was shelled for ten runs in 5 1/3 innings and while the pen game them 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief, that wasn’t nearly enough.
David DeJesus was the A’s offense in this one. He went two for three with a home run and he drove in all three Athletics’ runs. Mark Ellis also had a nice game with a double and a single in four at bats.
Gio Gonzalez gets the start tonight and A.J. Burnett goes for the Yankees. Hopefully the A’s can right the ship here.
The A’s avoided a sweep Wednesday by besting the Angels 2-1 but even that snapped a week of days where the A’s lost five out of seven. Still, despite sitting at 12-13, they A’s are just three games back of the first place Rangers, who they happen to play this weekend. Two of three would be nice so hopefully the A’s find it in themselves to get it done now.
It’s hard to say who’s been the hitting star on this team. Josh Willingham leads in home runs (3) and RBIs (13) but he’s hitting just .234. Coco Crisp is batting .286 with 16 runs but even his .733 OPS isn’t much to write home about. Of course the offense overall has been lukewarm. Only the Twins (77) have fewer runs then the Athletics (85). And the same goes for home runs because the A’s have just eleven.
Fortunately the pitching has been good. Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez have been about as consistent of a front three as you can ask. Of course this is the big reason why the A’s have the best ERA in baseball (2.66). No other team is within 25 points of them.
Of course it’s all for naught if the team doesn’t start winning. And there’s no time like the present with the current first place team coming into town.
The Athletics took care of the Giants 6-4 and Brandon McCarthy had another nice start. He gave up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts in seven innings. Trystan Magnuson threw a shutout ninth and he picked up the win.
Matt Carson went two for four in the win. Chris Carter tripled, drew a walk, drove in two runs and scored. David DeJesus went one for three with a run and a walk.
Brett Anderson gets the start today against the Dodgers. Game time is 1:05 local time.
The A’s further strengthed their bullpen by signing left hander Brian Fuentes to a two year deal. Last week is was Grant Balfour and this week it’s former closer Fuentes. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed and he gives the A’s some nice insurance after Andrew Bailey went under the knife to have his elbow repaired. If Bailey isn’t 100%, Fuentes could easily slip into the closer role and if Bailey is good to go, he’ll be a very good setup man.
Fuentes is death to left handers, who hit only .211 over his career. I like this deal a lot because the two year term makes it low risk and it’ll really help shorten up those games for the starters.
The Athletics shored up their bullpen by signing a guy with a most un-pitching like name out there. Grant Balfour will be in the mix for two years and the Athletics will have him for $8.1 million. Balfour was one of the many guys who had a nice season out the pen for the Rays last year and he’s yet another guy who’s not going back to that division winning team.
The past three seasons, Balfour has had two good ones and one not so good. 2009 was mediocre (4.81 ERA) but 2008 was awesome and 2010 nearly as good. Balfour is a good platoon guy and right handers hit just .174 against him in 2010. Over his career, Balfour has just a .219 batting average against right handed hitters.
Balfour joins a solid A’s bullpen. Andrew Bailey will close and Joey Devine will work as the setup man but expect Balfour to get his share of innings.
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