The Oakland A’s have been going through a small rough patch since the All-Star break. Even though they completed the monster blockbuster trade that brought Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to Oakland, it also sent slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox, which has definitely hurt the A’s offense. The Athletics rotation has also run into some issues and has struggled to find the strike zone. With the Los Angeles Angels only a game and half behind the Oakland A’s, the green and gold are going to have to step it up to hold onto the lead.
Even though the Oakland A’s have the strongest starting rotation in baseball, there have been some recent problems. The starters have a combined 5.77 ERA with a 2-5 record over the past eight games. Lester and Jason Hammel have found success this past week but Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray, who were both terrific during the first half of the season, have struggled. Most notable is youngster ace Gray.
Gray was recently named the AL Pitcher of the Month for July but you would not know it if you watched his last performance. Gray allowed 10 hits, six earned runs, and four walks – all career highs. Over the 4.1 innings in which he pitched, it was clear that he was frustrated and that he did not have his usual command over the ball. This was by far the worst outing of his short MLB career.
Although the starting rotation has gone through a few rough spots, the Oakland A’s offense has been lacking completely. Over this past series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Athletics left 31 men on base and are only hitting .223 as a team over the past 12 games. Some of the major power hitters during the first half of the season have had 17 or more hitless at-bats since the All-Star game including John Jaso, Stephen Vogt, and Brandon Moss.
In his last ten games, Moss batted .103 with 1 RBI and 4 hits. Vogt, who was batting .387 at the end of July, is now down to a .315 AVG. And Jaso has not had a hit in the last 4 games he started. If these bats do not start connecting soon, the A’s offense could be in serious trouble.
Maybe the Oakland A’s are trying to out perform to make up for the loss of Cespedes. Even though Cespedes was not consistent from time to time, he was known as the A’s slugger. With no “designated” slugger, everyone could be trying make up for this void. Hopefully with Coco Crisp back leading off the lineup, a sense of norm will be re-established.
The Athletics have lost 7 of the last 15 games since the All-Star break. They made some gusty trades moves right at the deadline and fans and critics are still hesitant as to whether these moves were worth it. If the Oakland A’s want to reassure their fans, they are going to have to put up a fight in order to beat out the Angels for the title of American League West Division Champions.
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