Some Positives in a Storm of Negatives for the Athletics
By Sean Davis
It seems like so long ago that the A’s had just completed their second sweep of the Houston Astros, and were sitting at 12-4 as they prepared to head off to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays. It didn’t go well, the A’s got swept and thus started a rough stretch where the A’s would lose 8 of 9 games, and head into tomorrow afternoon’s contest with the Baltimore Orioles looking to salvage the final game of the series. It all looks dark and gloomy right now, but in the sea of green and gold tinted darkness there are a few glimmers of hope that I would like to point out in an effort to lift some spirits.
Apr 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics infielder Josh Donaldson (20) hits an RBI single against the Baltimore Orioles in the third inning at O.Co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
At this point, I have to point to Josh Donaldson as being the most pleasant surprise on this team. I honestly didn’t think he’d be able to replicate the hot hitting stretch run he had in 2012 into the 2013 season. At first though, he didn’t appear to be able to do that. Through the first 7 games, Donaldson posted a .120/.154/.160 line. In the 17 games since Donaldson has posted a .397/.466/.651 with 2 home runs and 13 RBI, he’s also thrown in 8 doubles and a triple. Pair that with his typically excellent defense at third base, and you’ve got yourself a solid player.
There were questions surrounding Bartolo Colon as to whether or not he would be able to still pitch effectively without the presumed aid of performance enhancing drugs, which got him suspended for 50 games last year (and into this year as well). Bartolo has shown himself to be every bit the strike throwing machine he was in 2012, and the results have been excellent. In his 4 starts Colon is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings of work. He’s walked all of just 1 batter, and has struck out 17, not a bad K/BB ratio of 17.00. Colon’s happy day is the day he starts, and so far it’s been the same for all of us.
The late acquisition of Jed Lowrie came as a bit of a surprise to everyone, it turned what seemed like a somewhat settled middle infield situation into a topsy turvy tornado of playing time. Injuries, and Jed’s superb play made him the easy choice as the everyday shortstop, and he’s rewarded the A’s for that playing time. Through 106 plate appearances Lowrie has posted a .344/.425/.548 line with 3 home runs and 14 RBI. His defense has had some shaky moments, but he’s more than capable at the position.
Coco Crisp has become one of the faces of the Athletics franchise over the last few years, and he’s done so with good reason. This year he’s off to a very hot start, and actually leads the team with 5 home runs if you can believe that. He’s hitting .281/.385/.562 through 104 plate appearances, he’s stolen 7 bases and has 14 total extra base hits. He’s played his typical great defense in center field as well. Coco along with Jed Lowrie would be the frontrunners to represent the Athletics at the All Star Game if it were taking place now.
So while we all desperately wait for the Athletics to get their act together and start winning games like they did in the first two weeks, we can rest on the laurels of these positive signs from the team. There are more players who are doing their jobs, and with Yoenis Cespedes back in the lineup this afternoon things can only get better. Stay positive people, things will get better.