With an opportunity to sweep the Angels and a chance to regain control of the AL West, the Oakland A’s have made the most of their three game series with Los Angeles in more ways than one. At the very least the A’s will end the weekend just one game back of the Angels and that is just half of the good news. Oakland fans know how the offense has struggled since the departure of Yoenis Cespedes, but Coco Crisp has emerged as an x-factor in this weekend’s all crucial showdown with the Angels.
During their recent road trip back East, Oakland went 1-6, scoring three or fewer runs in all six of their losses. During that period Crisp hit .089, scoring only once and knocking in only one run. Since their return home, the A’s are 3-1 and Crisp has been the difference, hitting .333 with 5 RBI’s and 4 runs scored. In fact, it was Crisp’s leadoff base hit in the bottom of the eighth last night that eventually resulted in the go ahead run for the A’s.
While it may have taken a little time for the A’s to finally find someone to step up and fill the offensive void left by Cespedes, Crisp can be that guy if he continues to be a spark plug at the top of the lineup. If Crisp can continue to find his way on base, as he has against the Angels and the Mets, that will take a significant amount of pressure of the middle of the A’s lineup.
The trade for Jon Lester made the A’s a heavy favorites to win the World Series but their recent 2-8 skid, that resulted in a two-game division deficit has proved that Oakland can’t rely on their starting pitching alone to carry them into the playoffs as AL West division champs. Tenured players like Crisp have to rise to the occasion and provide the A’s offense with some sort of threat, if they have any hope of a division three-peat.
Oakland’s offense ranks 19th overall since the All-Star break and at this point it’s safe to say the A’s offense is a far cry from the one that racked up the league’s highest run differential in the first half. Going forward the A’s have to return to their roots of working deep into counts, getting on base and tying all that together with timely hitting. Crisp has be the guy if this is to happen.
The A’s offense may no longer be capable of being a juggernaut but they have proven as of late that they can still win in spite of that fact. Lester will be the key to A’s postseason success but Crisp will have to be the guy to make sure they even get there. If Crisp fails to continue to provide the A’s with an offensive threat, the trade for Lester could turn out to be the undoing of great season for Oakland.
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