After a relatively good start to the season, the Oakland Athletics now see themselves 5 games behind the AL West leading, Texas Rangers. The A’s, at 33-34, are slowly falling behind in the AL West. After a 6-2 loss in Chicago last night, the A’s will hope to rebound with Dallas Braden (4-6, 3.95 ERA) on the mound. Braden, who threw the 19th perfect-game in MLB history, has experienced his share of problems since his mother’s day perfection. Braden will try to get the A’s and himself back on track tonight in Chicago.
Getting back on track is extremely crucial for the A’s, as they can’t afford to fall too far behind. They don’t have a reliable and consistent enough offense to carry them back atop the rankings if they were to fall behind.
Instead, what they do have is pitching. Their pitching has been their success this year, but it is not without its share of problems. $10 million man, Ben Sheets, does not look like a former NL All-Star and many critics are questioning why Billy Beane would give Sheets such an expensive deal. Sheets did not pitch at all in 2009 due to injury, but the A’s went ahead and signed him to an expensive contract anyway. In fact, Sheets is the second-highest paid player in Oakland right now (behind only Eric Chavez).This season, Sheets is 2-6 with a 4.93 ERA. He’s been getting better with each game, but has hardly looked like a $10 million pitcher.
The A’s rotation, which is without Brett Anderson, who signed a four-year deal in April, will need to remain consistent for the rest of the season if they wish to play meaningful games in September. That means Trevor Cahill, who has won six games this season for the A’s (6-2, 3.23 ERA), and Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 4.21 ERA) will need to keep going out there and keep opposing offenses off-balanced.
While the A’s have no power bats in their lineup, prospects Michael Taylor and Chris Carter should be on their way up at some point this season. And if the A’s are still in contention come the trade-deadline, Beane could potentially make a trade for a power bat. The team definitely has the prospects to do so.