The Oakland A’s are best known throughout the league for their strong starting rotation and solid bullpen. They are not known, however, for having a consistent and productive offensive unit. The A’s are currently in the thick of things in the AL West, but could very easily fall out of contention if their offense does not get going soon. The A’s have the pitching to help them along the season, but they still need to score some runs if they are to overtake the Angels this year in the West.
With Texas and the Angels dealing with injury issues of their own, the A’s time to cash in and capitalize on a weakened AL West division is now. Yet, the A’s are stuck in third-place—with no clear way out. It’s still early June, but the A’s cannot afford to have their offense sputtering along. The A’s need to get Cliff Pennington out of the lineup, and make Adam Rosales the new starting shortstop. The A’s also need to decide whether or not they will actually use Jake Fox this season. Fox has played in 36 games this season, and is hitting just .213/.265/.330 with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs. With Jack Cust now back with the A’s, Fox’s playing time could take a serious hit. The A’s also have Eric Chavez on the mend, as he could potentially rejoin the team on by their next home-stand—or possibly next week sometime. While the idea of having Chavez coming back would ideally be great, realistically, it’s hard to imagine his body holding up for the rest of the season.
Offensively, the A’s are not an exciting team to watch. Just take Wednesday’s 7-1 loss at home against the Angels as an example. Ryan Sweeney, who has been the A’s most consistent hitter (.318/.356/.415, 1 HR, 27 RBIs) grounded into two double-plays—he’s hit into twelve double-plays this season. Kurt Suzuki and Daric Barton have been Oakland’s two other consistent hitters this season. Suzuki leads the team with 8 home runs, and Barton has been solid overall this season. The A’s have prospects 1B/DH Chris Carter and OF Michael Taylor waiting in Triple-A, but I don’t think that Oakland wants to rush and put added pressure on the future sluggers. For right now, the A’s must find a way to score runs—consistently. After witnessing Joe Saunders mastering an A’s team, that belted 18 hits the night before, reminded me that lightening does not strike twice.