Holy Jebus and Marsha, what’s going on here?!? The last time the Exodus checked in we were just shy of the All-Star game and the record sat at (49-41). Obviously, I have screwed Oakland’s playoff chances this year by not covering them for 20 games. Seriously, they are 4-16 since I last wrote about them! Jeez.
Well, let’s see how we got here. July started off hot as the A’s dropped the last two of a series with the Angels, whom they were battling for 1st in the division with (Oh, Glory Days). They immediately followed that with a series loss to the White Sox 1-2 but pulled out a 4 game set with the Mariners 3-1. Little did I know at that time the Mariners are the only team in the AL that we can beat anymore.
Another three game set with LA took us to the All-Star Break and we dropped that series 1-2. Surely things would turn around after the break right? Right?!? Hardly, my friends. Swept in a three game by the Yankees, a 1-2 loss to the Rays, a 1-2 series against Texas (setting them up to take over second in the division), swept by the Royals (dear Lord) and to top it all off, August has started with a 3-game series sweep versus Boston. Let’s see, that’s 1, 2, 3, …, carry the ‘1’, … Yep, that’s 2 and 13 since the break. The last ten games sit at 1 and 9.
Obviously at this point the A’s aren’t looking to play playoff baseball. This is the kind of season everyone expected and they’ve started playing up to their preseason expectations. The main problem with this team is the lack of any power in the lineup. Yes, I know Cust has 20 home runs and we have two other guys with 10. My point is you look at a team like the Tigers who have two men with 20, guys with 14, 12, 10 apiece, and three more guys with 9 long balls a piece. I’m not trying to say you have to hit home runs to be a power hitter. Doubles and triples will advance base runners nearly as far as the home run. We don’t seem to have many players doing that either these days. Carlos Gonzalez shines a bit in that area as he has 18 two-baggers in only 54 games.
This is the exception and not the rule though. Did Billy’s patented mid season moves turn out as expected? Well, as always, time will tell on that one. Harden has been awfully good for the Cubs, but that’s a team that can score him runs. He would have been just as effective as most of the A’s other staff members had he stayed in the Bay Area. You can only pitch so well game after game. The offense eventually has to catch up.
Where do they go from here? Well, they’ve used the DL 20 times this season. That’s just short of the franchise record 22 that they tied last season. You don’t have to have a crystal ball to tell that they’ll likely exceed that number this season. From here on out I believe you’ll start seeing a lot of the younger talent getting the nod over some of the veterans. You can allmost guarantee it in day games that follow night games as Geren can fall back on “we’ve had so many injuries, we’re trying to play it safe.” Don’t be fooled, we’ll be using those guys obtained from Chicago and Philadelphia and Arizona and (fill in the blank) toward the end of the year to get them some MLB run. That can only be a good thing for the future, but for now, things look awful bleak.