At 60-60, the A’s are back up to .500 and are hoping their young rotation will keep things rolling in the right direction for them. In the first game of a four-game set against the surging Tampa Bay Rays, A’s starter (and ace-in-the-making) Trevor Cahill pitched eight solid innings en route to his 13th win of the season. Cahill, who won 10 games last season in his rookie year, has been vastly different this season and has enjoyed a great amount of success. Last season, Cahill surrendered an A’s rookie record, 27 home runs. This season, however, Cahill’s sinker has been phenomenal and he’s managed to keep his fastball down in the zone. As a result of his improved command, Cahill has surrendered 13 homers this season. On the year, Cahill is 13-5 with an ERA that ranks 2nd among active starters in the AL (2.54 ERA). In fact, Cahill has emerged as Oakland’s young ace—a title many assumed would belong to teammate Brett Anderson.
But, unless Texas suffers a major meltdown, the A’s are probably going to miss out on the post-season this year. Their pitching staff, however, will likely keep getting better with each start. Heading into next season, the A’s rotation should include Cahill, Anderson, Dallas Braden, Gio Gonzalez, and Vin Mazzaro. The A’s have put together a very formidable rotation, and it’s highly unlikely that the front office will pursue any high-risk veterans like they have in the past (Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer, to name a few). The A’s have Anderson, who figures to be another young ace, locked up for four years, and will have no problem holding onto guys like Cahill, Gonzalez and Mazzaro. In fact, none of the starters are due to make a ton of money next year; although Dallas Braden might get bumped up a bit. As of now, none of the A’s starters have ERA’s over the 4.00 mark. Billy Beane has built himself quite the rotation, hasn’t he?
Well, aside from the A’s strong pitching, there’s not very much to talk about. The A’s offense is nothing to brag about, but they have seen guys like Coco Crisp and Cliff Pennington step up big defensively and offensively recently. Crisp took away a homer in Thursday’s opener against the Rays, and Pennington hit his second game-winning hit in a row. On the year, Crisp, who has had his share of injury problems this season, is hitting .289/.354/.478 with four home runs and 27 RBIs. Pennington, meanwhile, is hitting .261/.336/.378 with three home runs and 34 RBIs.
In other news, the A’s have received a bit of good news regarding injured-closer, Andrew Bailey. Bailey is expected to make a rehab appearance relatively soon. Michael Wuertz has served as the A’s interim closer, and has done a decent job so far. In fact, the A’s bullpen is down-right nasty.